I need more out of you

This is the feedback I got from my first manager at Accenture, on my first project with the company. I had been working there for a little while, and was excited to be in the game. But I had no idea what he meant by the feedback.

We’re currently a few short days into 2017, and I’m seeing progress on many fronts accelerating at a blistering pace. This time last year, I focused a lot on protecting my work time. I felt overwhelmed with demands on my time, and tried to batch calls and meetings or avoid them altogether.

The trouble with this approach, especially combined with how much experience I still needed in order to be good at my job as the CEO of an independent media company, is that I wasn’t particularly productive in the time I guarded so carefully. I was operating from a place of scarcity, and I expended a lot of cognitive energy brainstorming ways to structure my days with plenty of “work” time.

My heart was in the right place, but I now recognize my resistance as fear. These days, I’m getting on with it. My inbox fills up as fast as I clear it, but things are getting done. My mornings are pretty quiet, but afternoon to evening feels like a whirlwind of collisions and calls and meetings. Amazingly, I’m getting a lot more done with a fractured schedule than I ever did in my prayer closet of productivity.

I suppose my former manager’s feedback wasn’t about something you can really quantify; maybe it’s more of a posture. There’s something powerful and redemptive about a flat-out sprint. It’s exhausting, but dammit I feel alive.

Willie Jackson is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant & Facilitator with ReadySet, a boutique consulting firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the topics of workplace equity, global diversity, and inclusive leadership. Connect on LinkedIn or get in touch.