“Gotta Go” Time vs “Slug” Time


This week I am at my home in the south of France, deep in the countryside in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains on the Spanish border (www.tournoulehaut.com). For late October the weather is incredibly mild, in fact the days are sunny and 20º C (68ºF).  Definitely an “Indian Summer” as we used to call it when I was a boy in the US.

But I am not complaining, it’s perfect for what this week is all about.  I am finishing up my new business book, LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture (just dealing with accurate references, citations and figures), my daughter is practicing for a couple of upcoming competitions and preparing for violin solo performances at Christmas, and my wife is catching up on some much needed sleep.  A real family break week.

We all live pretty hectic lives and what makes it worse for me is that I get so used to the hustle and the hassle of city living and obligations, that I don’t even recognize how “speeded up” I am.  Sort of like a junkie on meth who doesn’t realize what’s happening (okay, maybe not that bad, but definitely rushing around).

So, every morning I have been taking a morning walk up and down the dirt road leading from out house down to the county road, about 0.8km from to to bottom.  A good way to get the old heart beat up and the blood pumping (my marathon days are long over due to a bad knee).

Anyway, today I was walking down the drive to the main road and about a third of the way down I noticed a slug making its way across the road from one side to the other.  It was a pretty big fella, about five inches long and it was just coming out of the wet grass of the verge and into the dirt drive. In London I never really notice anything as I tend to keep focused on the destination, but as I am beginning to slow down to the pace of life here, I guess I am more observant.

I continued on down to the bottom of the road, turned around and headed back up the hill, at a faster pace this time to get the blood pumping.  And there was the slug, this time about a quarter of the way across.  I continued on, having things to do today and wanting to hurry and get my exercise over with.

On my third trip up the lane, the slug was now just over half way across.  Definitely in no IMGP4584hurry. I stopped and watched for a little while.

Why am I always in such a hurry? Not only physically, but mentally as well?  Somewhere between “gotta go” time and “slug time” should be just about right!

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress


About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
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