Does anyone remember the promise made at the turn of this century? It was around the year 2000 that executives were assured, absolutely assured that we had entered the paperless era. We were also assured that this new digital age was going to streamline decision making and communications. So, what happened? Executive leaders are not only inundated with paper records and files, but buried under a constant stream of emails and text messages, work platforms, blogs, vlogs, videos, social media, online feedback, podcasts, webinars and online conferences – and that’s just for starters. Despite all the digital positives, and there are many, organizations are now all too familiar with watching out for, and hiring experts to build security against cyber-fraud, malware, spyware, ransomware, virus attacks and every imaginable kind of hack.
VIM Executive Coaching recognizes that decision making at the senior executive and “C” levels has gotten weightier and even more stressful.
Far Flung Decisions
Though the concept of international trade is hardly new, obviously going back through the centuries, the digital-age decision-making process the pulling together of work teams from around the world, the implementation of deals in real time in far-flung places is a new phenomenon. Industries such as energy, manufacturing and communications and certainly finance are global. Reacting to problems without first responding to all of the market forces and personnel issues can lead to catastrophe.
For the executive or entrepreneur in a leadership position, the digital age has not lightened the workload one bit, and while the technology is quite different from anything we have seen, it is not without its own unique set of challenges. The time in which to make decisions has shortened, and because we are so interconnected, a single decision like ripples in a stream, can impact every corner of an organization.
The question that we are frequently asked at VIM Executive Coaching is if there are any techniques that executives or entrepreneurs might employ – in real time – that can at least “slowdown” the digital pace. There are certainly techniques, but the techniques are often surprising. In fact, the way executive leaders might solve some of the most modern decision-making problems are through the use of ancient techniques. This is not all that unusual a phenomenon. There are tried and trusted ways of dealing with workplace challenges that are “evergreen.” The real issue is whether executives are being trained in using those techniques.
Mindfulness Meditation is a technique of calming the mind that reaches back across the ages, and yet it is as relevant now as your smartphone or the internet. The way to combat the clutter of decision making and input from multiple sources is to calm the mind in order to give weight and importance to all the factors confronting the executive. The common observation in regard to the digital age is that the “earth has become flat.”
Viewing the home page of any cable news website for example, might reveal a story about the sighting of a celebrity in New York City on virtually an equal footing with a story about a dictator trying to launch a missile with a nuclear warhead! It is decidedly easy for an executive to get overcome with data so that everything becomes “flattened.” Meditation puts things into priority and perspective by allowing the executive to have the opportunity to be in the moment, and to see things with clarity.
VIM Executive Coaching also works with executives to better define their management styles and to better self-assess their strengths and weaknesses. We are all capable of being exceptional managers, but a manager with one type of style should not try to force themselves into being the type of manager with a completely different style. Our goal is to strengthen the positive attributes an executive brings to the table and to make the executive more aware of their vulnerabilities and weaknesses.
The weight of major decisions in this digital age can be enormous for the executive leader but not insurmountable. Never before has the most ancient of all pieces of knowledge been as important as it is now: “Know Thyself.” Through proven techniques and self-assessment, any executive can know themselves better.