Unhurried at Work
An unhurried approach to work is more mindful, related and creative. It helps people generate big new ideas, and also quietly improve everyday routines. It's about helping people work with more satisfaction and resilience. This page outlines the guiding ideas and how we help people apply them.
Johnnie is running a webinar on unhurried at work on Tuesday February 6th at 8pm UK time. Details here.
What are the principles of an unhurried approach to work?
Using time differently
Unhurried is the pace we set when we’re in tune with what we’re doing. It’s not necessarily going slowly. It’s about finding a way to create resonance between us as we work. If you watch a Formula 1 team at its peak, it services a car incredibly fast. It succeeds because of practice and alertness to each other’s movements.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Periods of intensity are balanced by time for reflection. We move beyond one-day-wonder workshops to build a practice of working together.
Difference and resonance as a source of creativity
The strength of creative teams lies in their diversity. They are not perfectly aligned or always in agreement. Without some friction, there can be little chance of something new emerging.
Most collaborations rely on people finding connections across boundaries and sparking off each other. We all love to vibrate at our own frequency, but we can’t resonate alone. The Wright Brothers, Watson and Crick, Jagger and Richards... countless other scientific and artistic performances draw on relationship - often including intense friction as part of the journey. The myth of the solitary artist has been largely dismantled by creativity researchers.
Unhurried teams find ways to manage their differences so they are a source of insights and new thinking. They manage to keep companionship even in adversity. When teams are in flow, differences are held carefully with less pressure to fix them with a final solution.
Successful artists, inventors, performers and crafters are more able to control their focus. They stay open to new ideas and yet pay attention to detail. They’re able to move between intense concentration and relaxed reflection. Just as they can shift speed, they can move their focus. Unhurried people develop this kind of flexible attentiveness. It's a valuable antidote to the many things in life that can fracture our attention.
The wisdom of uncertainty
Working creatively means being wary of formulaic solutions and models. These offer the comfort of certainty but often at the expense of the liveliness and creativity of the team. It’s more art than science.
With the rise of artificial intelligence and the growing digitisation of work, we need to allow humans to devote their energy to what humans uniquely can do, and which can’t be mechanised or industrialised.
Workshops and coaching
We help you develop the unhurried approach to work. Our approach is experiential, short on documents and long on activity, experiment and exploration. It includes…
- How to share time in conversations equitably and give everyone a sense of agency
- The value of social sensitivity - increasing our ability to relate emotionally as well as rationally, both one-to-one and in groups
- Using physical and emotional movement to support creativity
- Using changes of pace to maintain energy and focus
- Creating space for reflection to deepen understanding
- Getting beyond one-hit-wonder workshops, teambuilds and the tyranny of post-it notes
We’ll also play with these five rules of thumb for growing our abilities to meet challenges:
Practice: Rather than aiming for perfection, teamwork is a practice. According to legend, at the age of 95, the cellist Pablo Casals was asked why he continued to practise on the cello. He replied, "because I'm beginning to notice some improvement." Practice is about bringing attention and curiosity to how we work with others.
Performance: We learn by performing into new roles. There's an element of risk and a willingness to accept the attention of others. Teamwork is not done in writing, but as a three-dimensional performance. Like learning to ride a bike, it is learnt by doing. We can act our way into new ways of thinking, rather than the other way round.
Participation: Instead of commanding from above, we aim for everyone to feel involved and to have agency. Human organisations flourish as networks of peers. We work with formal systems but we see the organisation as much richer in connections.
Playfulness: Change happens at the edges of our comfort zones, where we realise we don't have total control but do feel secure enough to experiment. We aim to find the wiggle room in stuck places, however stressful or serious the challenge.
Personal: No-one wants to work with a two-legged, talking version of the management rulebook. Meetings come to life when people feel willing to show up as themselves.