Reflections From My Pause
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

A couple weeks ago, I shared my thoughts on the power of a pause. In music, a pause draws attention to what preceded the pause. It causes the listener to become more alert and draws them immediately into the moment. Your heightened awareness prepares you to fully take in the melodies and harmonies to follow. With public speaking, the power of the pause is just as profound. It allows the listener to process and think about what was just said. Often, the best speakers will build tension with stories and then break the tension with a bit of humor, followed by a pause, allowing the listener to relax and take in the full message. The pause is such a powerful tool every leader needs to use, but sadly few ever make the time for it to happen.

Two weeks ago I took my annual summer pause and several realizations, thoughts, and ideas surfaced. I’d like to share some of them with you.

  1. The Type of Pause Determines the Structure. My pause was not what I thought it would be. My wife and I are blessed to have four children (who are all married) and 10 grandchildren. We rented a camp on Otisco Lake and spent the week together. I learned that while it was a pause, the amazing and constant activity didn’t afford much quiet reflection time. It was fun, a change of pace, and quite restful, but my time alone was limited. In the future, I will add shorter more frequent pause days to my calendar.
  2. Unbalanced Focus is Problematic. I said in my last email that MACNY’s training department had a record year. The year was very strong in the first quarter, slow in the second, and then the rest of the year was focused on catching up. May was the biggest training month ever and almost all of the activity was in the leadership areas. The good news is that we made up a lot of ground. The bad news is that I didn’t prospect much at all and now the first quarter of our new fiscal year will be a challenge. Moving forward I need to make sure that my focus is balanced in the core areas of my business.
  3. The Colors Should Never Touch. This one was an old realization that I had forgotten. When the appointments on your calendar touch each other, you don’t have time to process what just occurred and mentally prepare for the next meeting. Then you find yourself at the end of the day trying to process your thoughts and much of the day’s activities get muddled and the key parts lost.
  4. Why is So Much More Important than What. Our marketing team at MACNY is amazing and without them, I would be lost. They are always eager to help me shape a message into an email for my classes. The problem is, I haven’t been giving them the right information. I give them details about new and exciting programs that will cover topics from A to Z when what I need to give them is why someone would need to attend a specific program. Throughout the balance of July, I will be putting information together that will help us shape a message around the WHY. During a 360 Assessment call, an individual shared with me that he left my classes inspired and ready to lead his team better. Now that’s a great WHY statement.
  5. Less Can be More. Since joining MACNY in 2015, I have worked to expand our training offerings. As I reflected on the incredible effort our team puts into each class and assessed the return on that effort, I realized we need to scale back. I remember a visit my dad paid me when Selflock had moved into the former G.A. Braun plant on Brighton Ave. I was busy with one of my sons building out a QA Lab and my dad asked me what I was doing. I said, “Building out a QA Lab,” and his reply surprised me: “I know that. Why are you doing that?” I told him because I knew how to do that, to which he replied, “You need to do what you do best and let others do what they do best.” My dad knew that as President of the company, I should have been working on things that only I could do, things that if left undone, could have had a negative effect on the company. In our new fiscal year, we will be looking at what programs other partners can offer better and at a lower cost for you, our members.

If you would like to hear more about my pause and specifics on my takeaways, please join Marisa Norcross and me for the next episode of the Navigating Leadership Podcast.

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