Hard and soft skills, technical and ‘fluffy stuff’, I’ve heard (and said) it all. I’d like to address the role of feelings in crunch time. Despite our biggest objections, they play a massive role.
How we feel is what makes crunch times so hard. It’s not the work. As much as we don’t like to admit it, numbers and problem solving turn us on. But that’s what I call the ‘focus’ work. I want to talk about ‘feelings’.
Feelings are our internal compass during crunch times. If we take the opportunity to listen to them, we can shortcut a load of pain and angst worrying, and cut straight to the chase. Let’s face it, who has the time to waste worrying? Speculation is a waste of time. How much better would it be to focus your energy on knowing and doing?!
What feelings am I talking about?
Like anything, we have macro and micro feelings going on. I want to look at the micro, because under pressure space gets tight and we feel very micro. And what we need is a mechanism to turn our ‘feelings’ into ‘focused action’. Quick symptom, diagnosis and prescription which can be done using the following diagram.
How to use it - 2 simple steps:
1. Understand the feeling you’re experiencing and use that to diagnose where the real issue lies.
2. Once you’ve identified the issue, break down the underlying cause and those will form the basis of your actions.
Imagine Jo, a senior leader struggling to deliver. Not because she wasn’t capable, but because she didn’t really like a specific task required - it was boring, not value add (in her mind) and she wanted to focus on the bigger issue. In this case, Jo is suffering from a lack of motivation. What she needs to do is transform the lack of motivation into the energy of expectation and deliver.
Specifically, what she needs is:
• The 'What': A reminder that this is a part of her role (albeit small). She just needs to deliver it and move on. By not delivering, it has the potential to impact her profile within her organisation. She can generate energy by seizing the opportunity to deliver it whichever way she wants - the choice is hers.
• The 'How': To remember that she is at her best when she is working with people. She can engage the brains trust of 2 trusted colleagues and a meeting room for 30 minutes (it’s crunch time after all, they don’t have all day) and crank it out.
Doing it this way was not only fun for Jo, but provided a breadth of expertise to deliver a better outcome.
All she then needed to do was write it up and it would be considered ‘delivered'.
The point is, addressing your feelings doesn’t open up a Pandora’s box and drain your time. Use it to cut through the clutter and to guide you to more effective outcomes.
Feelings and focus is what’s needed during crunch times. Hard and soft.
About Alena: Alena works with leaders and their teams to connect technical and leadership skills so they can deliver to deadline without killing their people. She is a mentor, trainer, facilitator and coach. Contact her today on firstname.lastname@example.org