Time Is More Arbitrary Than We Think
How leaders punctuate time, for themselves and for those they lead, influences their potential for progress. Society tells us to situate our accomplishments in weeks, months, quarters, and years. Year-end reviews, quarterly reports, and weekly metrics all speak to the power of set periods to define what it means to be productive.
These recurrent periods of time exert a tremendous influence on how we orient to tasks, set deadlines for projects, and decide when we should review what success has occurred. Now, what would happen if we changed our view of time and chose to operate within a different kind of time frame?
Periodicity refers to our ability to alter or change these periods at our discretion, as most time frames are arbitrary and simply dictated by tradition. Changing the frame of time for which we expect to achieve results can yield dramatic differences in terms of what we accomplish.
So, when a year is condensed into 12 weeks or a quarter is reduced to a month, people rearrange their thinking to achieve the same results in a shorter chunk of time. As long as leaders insist on the same steps and milestones — such as check-ins, metrics, and reviews — individuals and teams learn to treat the new period in the same way they do in the traditional timeframe.
Imagine the possibilities. A sales team that sets quotas and conducts its business in 12-week periods might not achieve results equal to normal years, but the differences can sometimes be tremendous.
Some periods are fixed and not open to change. A full moon occurs every 29.5 days and nothing we do will alter that reality. That is not true about the timeframes that dictate results in modern society, including the focus on years, fiscal years, and quarters to punctuate when time connected to results begins and ends.
Consider experimenting personally with different timeframes and see how that changes your thinking about exercise, diet, budgets, or family time. Three-day weekends, two-week budgets, or 72-hour exercise plans, for example, might prove highly beneficial. In addition to thinking out of the box, consider thinking out of the timeframe. Who said a week has to be seven days, anyway?
PS: Here’s a bonus question for today: Is leadership authenticity just a bunch of nonsense? As you might expect, Admired Leadership has a somewhat contrarian view on this topic. Check out this short video.
I think where "be authentic" falls down is when people use it as a wedge to bring something about their personal life into a business setting because to do otherwise is "inauthentic".
WRT equating authenticity with permission to be toxic - its beyond the pale to use any excuse as a cover for injuring other people or damaging the company's mission. Anyone that's "authentically" abusive needs to be seperated from the organization.
Beyond that I think where people crave authenticity is for leadership to be honest about what they believe and conduct themselves accordingly. In such an environment people will have a predictable, stable, and safe environment to work in.