The power of the pivot (part 2)

Earlier this week, we talked about the power of the pivot as it gives us the advantage of assessing our circumstances, all 360⁰. Today, I want to talk a little about the mechanical advantage of the pivot.

Hurricane Ivan struck Pensacola 10 years ago this month. The storm tore through our community taking 8 souls, destroying property and changing lives. We did very well, but had more than a hundred downed trees across the property with 12 huge pine trees lying across the driveway. Time to clear a path.

John used the chain saw to turn the trees into large (and heavy) 10-foot sections. As he moved to the next tree, I tried to push one of the logs to the side of the drive. I worked really hard but made no progress. John saw my dilemma and brought over a tiny block of wood – about 2”x 4” x 6”. After he placed the block near the middle of the log, we rolled the log onto the block of wood and then watched the power of the pivot. Using very little energy, we were able to rotate that 10-foot log into position for an easy roll to the side of the drive.

That small block of wood and very little effort from us made all of the difference.

Leaders need to look for every energy and time conservation tool available to them. Let me give you another example.

Some of us do a lot of work using email. Can we be more efficient in how we handle our email?

Some experts suggest having set times of the day to read your mail, perhaps first thing in the morning, noon and late in the afternoon. That never worked for me, but it may for you.

My best strategy was to look at my email inbox several times a day, always sorting my messages before reading any of them. I sorted first by sender. The boss’s emails were read first, then emails from leaders in the field and key staff members. If an email from my boss was important, I then resorted, using the subject line; that allowed me to see any other email traffic on that issue. I read all comments from others on the subject, or the follow-on email from the boss, before I crafted and sent my answer.

The best communicators respond to every email addressed to them (not giving personal attention to “distribution” emails). By sending a reply of “thanks” or “got it” or “don’t know; will research and get back to you”, they let the sender know that the communique has been received and is getting appropriate attention.

No matter how senior you are, scanning, prioritizing and responding to communications will always be a critical use of your energy and time.

What is a time or energy stealer for you? Once you have identified it, look for tools to get it under control.

  • Ask people you trust how they deal with the issue.
  • Use tools on-line for ideas (Google helps me get started).
  • Take a class or find an article on the subject.
  • Ask me. I’ll help find resources to help you!

Quit trying to push that log by yourself and find a tool that will serve you. We leaders need all of the energy and time we can get!!

(I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13)

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