It didn't happen on January 1st, but by January 6th I had an idea about what I was going to try and do differently in 2015. I am going to be a little less efficient. Not in all things, but definitely with the details. I think I might linger in the details a bit. Because that is where relationships are built.
The thought first occurred to me within the context of my family. Like most families, we are rushing everywhere to do most things while we are also trying to do ten other things at the same time. I brag often about the well-oiled machine that we've become and find myself (my once up-for-anything self) dreading the one-off excursion that will throw of nap time and thus make the rest of the day, well, a day that is different from all of the other highly efficient, runs like clock-work (mostly) kind of days.
Efficiency is important and trust me, I am NOT abandoning it. But this realization has me thinking a little bit about the cost of efficiency in work and in life, particularly when it means rushing through one task, encounter, interaction only to be able to check off the next. Instead, I wonder what might be gained by hanging around just a little longer, extending the conversation a bit further, listening intently a few minutes more. I wonder what might be gained by letting people know that they matter and that there is nowhere else I need to be, nothing more I need to do than what I am doing at that moment, right then, with them.
I have seen a difference with my children most immediately. Our conversations are deeper (well, as deep as they can be about cars and trucks and imaginary friends called TC) and I see parts of their personalities and talents I had forgotten, or just hadn't taken the time to see in a while. My youngest is just learning to walk and I watch him watching me watch him, only him, and this sheer hysteria overcomes everything about him: how he moves, how he sounds, how he sees. Just everything. He's not just happy, he's encouraged. He takes one more step and then another and then another, all the while not taking his eyes off of mine. He is taking big risks because he knows I am paying attention and that I will support him if he falls.
It got me also to thinking about work. About how we lead and interact and encourage our colleagues, our students, our families. Where could we spend a bit more time lingering in the details and building relationships that mean something, not just to us, but to them.
As Indistar users, you are familiar with the Indicators of Effective Practice. And since we're spending time on Leadership Teams here, I picked out a few Indicators of Effective Practice for Leadership Teams that are essential to success in change and improvement. They are also pretty straightforward and are easy to overlook because of course we meet regularly and of course we communicate to the rest of the school. But not so fast. This is where the details really really matter. So in addition to the few Indicators of Effective Practice for Leadership Teams that I picked out, I also created a few questions to help get back to the details, linger a little bit, interact a little longer with our colleagues and team members.
For visual ease and for fun, I created another Infographic to display the practices and the questions. Let me know if it's useful. You can download a PDF version here.
Here's to a little less efficiency, a little more lingering, and a lot more relationship building.