Clicking through unread emails, rushing to the phone as soon as it rings and setting group goals just for the joy of being able to measure them are just a few examples of how we tend channel our energy to tasks that give us the richest sense of progress. However, according to Dr Jason Fox – best-selling author and leadership advisor - we've become “too busy” to stop and think about what actually matters – we’ve so to say become cursed by irrelevant efficiency that won´t benefit any businesses in the long run.
Dr Jason Fox gave a keynote speech at FIBS´, HENRY ry´s event From the Delusion of Progress to New Ventures held at KPMG and shed some light on the concept of meaningful progress in business as well on a personal level.
How can we unlock new progress and build for the future of work?
Dr Jason Fox believes there is something that businesses can about learn about motivation from online games such as World of Warcraft, since they get people hooked for hours and even days on a single mission. It´s the goal-driven, challenge-intense, and feedback rich experiences and a sense of small wins along the way that get people motivated, Fox says. We need to challenge conventional wisdom of “SMART goal-setting” and leave more room for empathy and curiosity. Familiar clichés and getting fixated on goals just won´t cut the deal.
Okay, how to put this into practice?
Creating rituals and sticking to them is important, Fox explains. For example, far too often we skip team meetings where we go through lessons learned and past wins and fail since we are “oh, so busy”, even though these are usually the most beneficial meetings in the long run.First of all, Fox suggest we should start our days not by reading our emails and reacting to other peoples pressing problems, but by thinking ourselves what is it that creates meaningful progress in our own work. After that we should cut them down into 3 daily tasks that are actually achievable during the day, and then decide on 3 quarterly projects. Second of all, we should feed our curiosity and expose our selves with new ideas, news and thoughts. Curiosity also helps us create more viable options and fight against default thinking.
Alright, but why is this so important again?
In the bigger picture curiosity and putting what matters first can open a gate-way to a world where businesses can unleash themselves from the default lifecycle: from an innovative startup through a thriving growth period to a mature business that is headed towards decline - or in Fox's words, towards the "Inevitable Kraken of Doom". If we're ready to accept that the future of our business in this constantly changing world is filled with doubt and uncertainty, and we embrace it, we're able to succeed and pioneer, and thus avoid decline and doom.
Tuuli Nummelin, FIBS