“Managing energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance. Performance is grounded in the skilful management of energy”
– Tony Schwartz
Most of us will have grown up all too familiar with the Energizer Bunny commercials where the drum playing, cheeky sunglass wearing pink rabbit outlasted all other toys because of the power source that the battery range offered. It’s energy, enthusiasm and endurance kept on delivering when all the other toys gradually lost their rhythm and ultimately ground to a halt.
Have you ever noticed how exceptional leaders who consistently deliver exceptional results personify the same traits? They not only seem to continue giving and delivering but they do it in a style that personifies confidence, fulfilment and passion.
Think about the leaders you have worked with who represent what it means to be ‘fully alive’. How did they influence you, inspire you, or make you feel? No doubt you just felt better for being around them – more confident, capable and energetic. These leaders tend to inspire you and have a way of breathing life and vitality into both people and projects. Conversely if you have ever worked with people who are constantly tired, stressed or drained of energy and enthusiasm they invariably leave you feeling like you’ve had the life sucked right out of you. You walk out of meetings feeling deflated, directionless and unmotivated. One group radiates vitality and the other drains it.
Business Vitality is often referred to as the degree to which an organisation is successful in the eyes of their customers, employees and shareholders. Measures of vitality will include client and employee retention, stock price, profits, revenue growth and operating costs. Often referred to as the ‘soft measures’ things such as public trust, innovation, collaboration, employee well-being and employee engagement are also critical. More and more organisations though are realising that these so-called ‘soft measures’ are better viewed as the critical measures. For it is these critical measures that determine and drive the hard measures.
The reality is when an organisation’s leaders and people are running on empty tanks, everything suffers. It is the loss of personal vitality that has a definable cost to the business and heavily impacts on both productivity and profitability. If we want to build and/or lead businesses rich in these things we need to start paying attention to the health and vitality of ourselves as leaders so that we can positively impact our people and our clients and customers.
As the speed at which we do business continues to accelerate and the market volatility and rate of change remains a constant, vitality is fast becoming recognised as a ‘must have’ leadership trait. In a climate where we as leaders are constantly being asked to do ‘more with less’ – less resources, less money and less people – we need to ensure that we know how to effectively manage our energy levels and not fall into the all too common trap of responding by simply working longer hours. ‘If I just do more, work harder things will improve and I will get through it’. When we don’t simply ‘get through it’ we start to question our capability, purpose and impact. AND our people notice it! It can all too easily become a viscous cycle that if we aren’t careful robs us; our people; and our businesses of vitality, essence and spirit.
Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, authors of The Power of Full Engagement, argue that managing energy and not time is the key to personal and business vitality. They detail how mobilizing our key sources of energy, balancing how we spend it with how renew it and the energy habits we create, is critical to our success. Their recommended practices below for renewing the four sources of energy with the aim of becoming more vital are well worth examining.
Leadership Vitality is about developing a critical life force that builds sustainable productivity and profitability. It starts with you! For those of us who are returning from a well-earned summer break I would encourage you consider how you can sustain this renewed sense of vitality; and for those who haven’t had a break, how you can preserve your energy tanks and build vitality credits. You and your business will thank you for it!
As always I would love to hear your thoughts.
If you are looking for ways to build or elevate your leadership vitality in your career, please contact Margot on 0400 336 318.