Case: Sources of Renewal

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    • 00:01

      [MUSIC PLAYING][Sources of Renewal]

    • 00:10

      JAMES BAILEY: Greetings.My name is James Bailey from the George Washington UniversitySchool of Business. [James R. Bailey, PhD, Professor,Department of Management, The George Washington University]And today, I'm going to present somethingon sources of renewal.This is based on some research of mine that recently appearedin Harvard Business Review and comes from a very large scalestudy of executives around the world.But of course, this needs a bit of a setup.

    • 00:30

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: And I want to talk a little bit about our objectivesfor the next few moments.[Workload]The first is to emphasize that leaders work really, reallyhard.And I mean really hard.Now to illustrate that, what I want to dois to show you a few numbers.

    • 00:52

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: 47 times 47 times 47 equals 100,000.Now it doesn't equal exactly 100,000, OK,but it's close enough.Now what might those 47's stand for?First, let's go to the 100,000.A recent study by the Society of Human Resource Managementidentified that the average producting working

    • 01:16

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: life of an individual is 100,000 hours-- ooh, 100,000 hours.And I broke that down to what that means for hoursper week, the first 47.Weeks per year, the second 47.And years, the third 47.

    • 01:36

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: So now let's take a look at this in light of that.47 hours a week.That sounds pretty right.You've got your time in the office, but on the weekendyou make a few calls, you work a little late one day.47 hours a week, 47 weeks a year.That makes some sense, too, in as much as, well,

    • 01:56

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: you've got some vacation time.There's holiday time off, there's weekends.So in total you're working about 47 weeks a year.And you do this over a 47 year career.That means that you're sort of starting your working lifearound 23, retiring around 70.You've got 47 years of work in and your 100,000 hours is done.

    • 02:21

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: However, most people I know, probably most of you,aren't working 47 hours a week.You're probably working more like 60 hours a week.Furthermore, you're not working just 47 weeks per year.You're working 50 weeks a year.

    • 02:41

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: Oh, a little bit of time off here and there,but you're working on all through your weekends.You're working on your vacation, right.You're on the beach on your smartphone answering emailsand texting other people at work,which means, interestingly enough,is that a mere 17 years, you've worked 50,000 hours-- half

    • 03:07

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: of your productive working life.It's an awful lot.[Leadership Development]Leadership is a marathon.And you and I are sprinting.And we might not finish that marathon unless we slow down

    • 03:28

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: and we pace ourselves.Leadership comes from two primary experiences--adversity and diversity.By adversity, I mean tough times.In tough times is when you are really tested.You know this.Diversity means different kinds of experiences,working in different markets for different products

    • 03:48

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: in different locations with different groups of people,maybe internationally.Diversity-- seeing things differently.Those two things, adversity and diversity,come together to steel and form us as leaders,but it takes time for them to set in.

    • 04:09

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: And you and I are not taking that time.So the other objectives that I would point out hereis that I'm going to argue that this 60 times 50 times17, this work schedule that you and I are engaged in every dayis stress.And that stress releases neural toxins

    • 04:30

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: that build up in our system.Third premise, then, is that you and Ineed to find ways to renew.We need to find ways to acceleratethe flushing of this neurotoxin from our system.And I'm also going to point out ways in which leaders,even though they're aware they should do this,

    • 04:52

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: don't often do it.[Effects of Stress]Let's start with this.Stress can be a positive force.It can help to focus our attention.It boosts our determination.It energizes action.It can help us buckle down and hold fast.

    • 05:13

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: It encourages us to be clear headed with our prioritizationand resolve.But it can also hobble us.The question is, when and why does it do soand what can we do about it.Now a recent study in the Journal of Neurosciencesuggests that there is a neural switch that

    • 05:33

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: determines the difference between perseveranceand breakdown in the face of stressful events.That is, the researchers found that whenput under an enduring sustained kind of threat,laboratory subjects who previously

    • 05:54

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: were steadfast in their determinationto complete things, broke down.They went from fighting the brave fightto basically surrendering.And what this stressful event didwas it activated part of what's calledthe medial frontal cortex in the brain.And that's the part of the brain that processes emotion.

    • 06:17

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: So this idea of a switch, a point, where our bodies simplycan't handle it any longer is where we're going.It's what we need to think about in termsof how do we prevent ourself from getting to this switchpoint.[Sources of Renewal]

    • 06:39

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: And that's part of the study that I described earlierwith 127 executives from 18 different companies,I asked them what they did to renew.What did they do to build themself back upafter sustained stressful experience, which of course istheir everyday life.

    • 06:60

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: What do executives actually do?And four categories emerged from this research.The first is what I would call health.It's fairly straightforward.[Four Categories - Health]Exercise, sleep, diet.This is the most common kind of renewal.And if you about it, all of those thingsare important, right.Exercise helps to increase our metabolism.

    • 07:21

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: If our metabolism is increased, it'sgoing to more efficiently flush any noxious chemicalsin our system.Sleep allows us to renew.Sleep is a mysterious thing.We're not even sure what sleep does or how it operates.But we know it's absolutely necessary.By the way, many of you out thereare trying to get by on five or six hours of sleep.

    • 07:42

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: You might need eight.You might want to reconsider your priorities.And of course diet-- just keeping ourself trimand eating the right foods, all of which helps our system work.So that's the most popular category.The second is what I would call removal.[Four Categories - Removal]Now removal is anything that sort of whisks you away

    • 08:03

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: from the every day, from your experience in your work, thattakes you someplace else-- concerts, sporting events,theaters, movies, TV, fine dining were mentioned,as well as stopping by the spa or the tavern.Family time can fit in here too.By the way, watching football is not necessarily

    • 08:24

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: a renewal kind of activity.But what these things do is they take us away, right.They take us to somewhere else wherewe're no longer part of the environment thatis weighing so heavily upon us.[Four Categories-- Intellectual Activities]The third category is intellectual activities,a little different than removal which sort of separates youfrom the experience of every day life.

    • 08:45

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: What intellectual activities do is they engage your brain.You focus so deep on that activitythat any outside event is no longerhaving the same impact on you.Here's a few examples of intellectual activities--puzzles, games, the study of history or botany,reading, bird watching, hobbies like model building.

    • 09:08

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: These things require our full cognitive capacity,meaning that we can't be thinkingabout these other things.We can't be perseverating on themand thus becomes a source of renewal.The fourth category.And in some ways for me, my most favorite category,is what's called introspection.

    • 09:29

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: [Four Categories-- Introspection]Now introspection is turning our self inward in order to,in some ways, shut out, to remove ourselffrom the outside world.This includes things like transcendental meditation.The research on transcendental meditationis pretty impressive in as much as itdoes contribute to our general sense of well-being.

    • 09:53

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: Prayer, breathing techniques, setting asidetime for reflection, therapy, includingneurofeedback training therapy, and participationin support groups.The idea here is to think about whowe are and our place in the universe,but not be stressed about it.

    • 10:13

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: Remove ourself from that to focuson who we are, where we're going,how we got here, what's our purpose.You can see in front of you a simple little barchart that shows you the frequencyof these different kind of activitiesas reported to these executives.

    • 10:33

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: Now these executives are definitely on the right track.There's no question about that.Past research has shown that the deleterious effects of stressand the neurotoxins that it releases into our bodycan be mitigated by a mere 20 minutesa day of engagement in any of these sources of renewal.

    • 10:56

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: Just 20 minutes a day.This is a really good thing.But the question becomes, do we really take time to do this.And this is when I went back to the executives, the same onesin the study, and asked them a series of other questions.And this is what the results were.Only 64% of these executives were vaguely or not

    • 11:20

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: at all aware that there were simple measuresto ameliorate the stifling effects of stress.Only 64%.That's not good news.Apparently, the word has not gotten out.Busy executives seem to be taking care of businessand not themselves.

    • 11:40

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: A pitifully high 40% of executivessaid that they engage in renewals activities onceor more a week.This noxious build up of neurochemicalswill sooner or later catch up to them.The range of reported activities that we touched on beforeis vast.Some are physical, some are mental, some are active,

    • 12:02

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: some are passive, some are energizing, some are relaxing,some are transporting, and some are just fun.There are so many choices out therefor one to choose that best fits their interestsand their lifestyles.[Conclusion]And a life of leaders, to conclude,

    • 12:23

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: is leaden by a tautness and a turmoiland a storm of experiences, as it were.They need to focus more on what theyneed to do to renew themselves over the course of their careerto be better at their work and to lead other people.And I'd end with this thought.

    • 12:44

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: Maybe our organizations could help more with this too.Maybe our organizations could design plans and prioritizearound us taking care of ourselvesso that we can achieve this sustainability of our careers,contribute to the goals of the organization, society even,and enjoy ourselves a greater sense

    • 13:06

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: of welfare and satisfaction.I conclude with a few questions for you to reflect upon.First upon, which of these activities is right for you?[Reflective Questions]Which one fits your lifestyle, which one piques your interest,and which one can you sustain in on a regular basis20 minutes a day throughout the course of your week.

    • 13:28

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: And the second question is what youcan do to encourage these kinds of activitiesfor those that report to you.This shouldn't be just about you.This should be helping them to rise to their best.And by encouraging and forcing sourcesof renewal for all of them, you'llmake the workplace a better place to be.

    • 13:50

      JAMES BAILEY [continued]: Thanks for listening.[MUSIC PLAYING]

Case: Sources of Renewal

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Abstract

Professor James R. Bailey talks about stress and how it can affect leaders. He then describes four types of activities that can relieve stress and renew one's ability to work effectively. These activities center on health, removal, intellectual activities, and introspection.

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Case: Sources of Renewal

Professor James R. Bailey talks about stress and how it can affect leaders. He then describes four types of activities that can relieve stress and renew one's ability to work effectively. These activities center on health, removal, intellectual activities, and introspection.

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