THE SPIN CYCLE
Washing machines have what's called the "spin cycle". Once water gets drained from the machine, your clothes get spun super fast (in the "spin cycle"). The centrifugal force is used to suck away any excess water from your clothes.
Managing can feel the same way. You have a good plan and intentions for managing your business, then reality sets in. In the post-Covid workplace, change, uncertainty and surprise have accelerated, spinning business leaders faster and faster.
To keep up, managers are constantly playing catch up. They get caught in the spin cycle. Instead of having all the water sucked away, much of the leader's satisfaction and effectiveness gets sucked away.
You're bouncing between priorities, tossed from meeting to meeting, and spinning from deadline to deadline. For even the best leaders, it's a constant tug-of-war. Some days they manage the business. Some days the business manages them.
A common problem is getting stuck in the spin cycle. If you're always playing catch up, chasing deadlines and reacting to the crisis of the moment, then two things are going to happen and neither are good. First, you'll underperform and you won't achieve your goals. Second, stress will take its toll and you'll burn out.
SIGNS YOU'RE CAUGHT IN SPIN CYCLE
- You have good ideas that you never get to
- You're always juggling competing priorities
- You're constantly changing or running behind schedule
- You're breaking some of your better habits and routines
- You're becoming frustrated, cynical and/or pessimistic
- Commitments are harder to maintain
Are you managing the business? Or is the business managing you? 🤔🤔🤔
This isn’t a trite question. In fact, it might be the most important question you can ask yourself right now.
This is what we want business to look like -
It's what we were taught in business school. It's what our job description says we do. It's manageable. It's manageable because we haven't put it through the spin cycle. 😫
THIS IS WHAT BUSINESS REALLY LOOKS LIKE -
This is the post-Covid reality, and what it feels like when the "business is managing you". The goal posts keep moving (change). Everything's up in the air (uncertainty). Things come out of left field (surprises). Sleep doesn't come easy (stress). And execution is less reliable (breakage).
THE PRACTICAL REALITY
There's always going to be change, uncertainty, surprises, stress and breakage. That's life, especially in the post-Covid world. It's a reinforcing loop. The more change, the more uncertainty. The more surprises, the more stress. The more stress, the more breakage. The potential of getting stuck in the spin cycle is always going to be present.
"Managing your business" is a process. You turn goals into priorities, priorities into plans, plans into action and action into outcomes, BUT the spin cycle can have a negative influence on every step of your management process. Goals seem unrealistic? That's the spin cycle at work. Competing priorities? Spin cycle. Change of plans? Spin cycle. That's the practical reality.