I was driving into the city yesterday when I spotted a billboard advertising “Book our venue now for your Christmas party!”. Good grief. It’s only August folks. I’m not sure which is more unsettling – the fact that we have to plan our merriment four months in advance. Or that Christmas (and the end of another year) is just around the corner!
I get It. With our frenetic pace of life, if we don’t plan something, it doesn’t happen. The more hectic our lives get, the more we feel the need to control it so that we have some semblance of order. But has this need to plan everything in advance totally sucked all the spontaneity right out of our lives? And is there a role for spontaneity at work? I believe there is.
Sometimes spontaneous people can get a bad rap. They’re seen as impulsive, reckless, and maybe even a tad flakey as their plans seem to change all the time. In reality, spontaneity has many upsides, and yes, even in the world of business which puts a high value on consistency and certainty.
Spontaneity can be a leadership asset. Being spontaneous helps you embrace and value change. Over time, it enhances your leadership flexibility as you get more comfortable dealing with a situation as it develops. When change is the only constant, leaders who are adaptive become valued assets.
Spontaneity also fosters greater creativity. Creativity abhors boundaries and rules. While routines help us be more productive, it doesn’t get our creative juices flowing. Find ways to spice up your routine without much planning to give your mind room to breathe and explore.
Maybe we should just call it for what it is. Being spontaneous is more fun. And we need to make work more fun. Some of the best times I’ve had, whether in or outside of work, is when I’ve done something at a moment’s notice just for the heck of it.
Now I mean, be spontaneous, not stupid. So don’t go risking your reputation or your job by doing something dumb. But if you’re the boss, and you want to take your team out for an impromptu backyard barbecue one afternoon to de-stress, go for it. Ps – just remember that asking why they missed their project deadlines the day after would be really bad form!