54th Gear—Leading in a Task World

Over the past two years we have shared the 5 Gears with thousands of people. Every time we share it we ask the leaders to tell us which gear they are normally in the most. Eighty-five percent of the time it is 4th gear. It's no wonder. We live in a task-driven, task-dominated world. To-do lists, task sheets, and productivity tools flood the market as adults are trying to get organized, stay organized, and become as proficient as possible in their world.

This desire for productivity from individuals, bosses, and organizations leads to a tendency to move from one task to the next, checking things off throughout the day without slowing down much, if at all. And so we move in a given day from phone calls to meetings to emails to meetings to calls to texts and maybe some project work before we head home. That is a normal day for the majority of people in the marketplace.

Add to this style of working the dizzying speed of technology, the frenetic pace of social media, and the unrealistic expectations of others to make things happen on a moment's notice and you have an exasperated, stressed-out workforce.

Waking Up in 4th Gear

Task-mindedness can become a habit or, rather, a way of life. People can become so married to their to-do lists that the daily tasks begin to control our lives—like a tail wagging a dog. I spoke with a general manager of a development company who stated that she doesn't know what life would look like without 4th gear. When she ...

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