1.29.2014

Learning from a Fellow Introvert

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I had the pleasure of catching up with a colleague of mine earlier this month who I hadn't met with in several years.  He runs a successful not-for-profit organization in town and he has grown it considerably in size and impact in the 10+ years he has been running it.  And, like me, he is an introvert.

So it was particularly instructional for me to hear how he manages his time and runs his organization, not just because he's done well at his job because he's done it as an introvert.  Yes, introverts can be top dogs, press the flesh all day, and constantly seek out new contacts and new interactions without falling to pieces.  Here are my three takeaways that I will be trying to incorporate into my professional life so I can do better and still stay sane:

(1) Hire good people and trust them to do the work.  Like me, my colleague enjoys the inner logistics of his organization.  But at this stage in his organization's growth, his role has to be externally facing.  So what he used to do, what he enjoys, and what he does well, he now has others do, and he lets them do it.  After all, playing the outside game takes time and energy, especially for an introvert.

(2) Rest, reflect, and re-engage.  How do you stay on top of a complex entity?  Take a break every weekend, revisit your key functions/issues/people, and fire out the email missives.  I do this too.

(3) Read.  Ah, the soothing rejuvenation that is a good book.  Yet another classic instance of introvert behavior.  Even as I get busier and busier, I'm doubling down on this.
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