Our personal energy is perhaps our most precious resource, and if we’re a leader in an organisation, the collective personal energy of our people is something that needs to be protected and nurtured.
There is a tendency to feel like the Christmas break is some form of finish line, but there are no finish lines in business. Business, life, and work are all infinite games, not finite ones. In infinite games, there is no finish line or winner; the objective of infinite games is having the capacity to continue to play. In infinite games, it makes no sense to burn ourselves out in pursuit of short-term objectives based on artificial deadlines if it subsequently impacts our collective capacity to play the game*.
Rather than encouraging people to drive themselves hard and brake late into Christmas, it makes more sense to encourage energy conservation and let people coast. Even better, we could give them an off-ramp and an on-ramp. Just like going up an off-ramp recovers momentum as potential energy, and going down an on-ramp turns potential energy into momentum, how might we store potential energy in our people over the Christmas break and release it again in mid-January?
One idea is taking the time in mid-December to get our people together to reflect on the wins of the last 12 months and then give people permission (or actively encourage them) to start coasting. Then, in a month or so, we should set aside time to ramp up. This might be an event to re-engage our people in our collective purpose and provide a structured opportunity to reconnect with each other.
Personally, I’ve already started coasting, and this is likely to be the last time you hear from me this year. With that in mind, I’d like to express my gratitude to all of you out there reading this, because if you’ve taken the time to read this far into one of my blog posts at this time of year, then you are exactly the person I’m writing for. Thank you!
And for all the wonderful clients I’ve worked with this year, especially the incredibly supportive community of local government professionals, my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to do the work I love with people I genuinely care about. And to the people I have in my corner—my team, my mentors, my family, and my friends—thank you for the ongoing support you gift to me.
See you in ’24!