It’s go time!
It’s time to go!
Let’s go, it’s time!
Time is a powerful influence on our lives. It dictates working, eating, sleeping, exercising, socializing, and really every part of our lives. Time causes us to feel stressed or focused. It tells us if we are good (on time) or bad (late). Time challenges us to go faster and farther. Time measures success and failure.
If time is such a powerful influence on our mental, physical, and emotional state, it would seem important to consider it as a leadership tool. Influence is the power to be a compelling focus on one’s feelings, thoughts, and actions. Time is a source of power!
The ways we use time as a source of power can either leave people with a sense of inspiration or a feeling of coercion. On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy gave the memorable speech about sending a person to the moon by the end of the decade.
“In his speech, Kennedy characterized space as a new frontier, invoking the pioneer spirit that dominated American folklore. He infused the speech with a sense of urgency and destiny, and emphasized the freedom enjoyed by Americans to choose their destiny rather than have it chosen for them.”1
In July of 1969, the Apollo 11 Mission accomplished this goal. Time was used as part of this inspirational message that energized people to support the space program.
Time is used as a negative source of power as well. I recall a story I heard from Beth, a corporate executive, a few years ago about a time when her team was given a project to complete with an impossible timeline. The person dictating the timeline was unaware and unwilling to listen to the concerns of the team. “Get it done, or else,” was the message. Beth recalled the stress, low morale, and animosity they had towards management and the organization. The team worked overtime, tried to find faster methods, and cut corners to attempt to complete the project on time. The results were not good. The client was unhappy, the team was ticked off, and it cost the company twice as much money overall to redo the project.
As you consider time as a source of power, be aware of your message and how others are receiving this message. If time is used to coerce, discern the possible consequences of using this approach. If your goal is to inspire, position time in the context of a better future state or an opportunity to do great things. In addition, listen to the concerns about time of those delivering the outcome.