Kimberly Faith on Time & Holding Complexity (Episode 2)

Actionable insight about how we have all the time we need, how holding complexity is key, and the importance of asking the right questions.
Kimberly Faith on Time & Holding Complexity (Episode 2)
In: time, leadership
Redefine your relationship with time. Everywhere I go, people are held hostage by this perception of, I don’t have time. I don’t have time. And what I’m watching is that it’s leading people to make quick decisions, move fast under this illusion that we don’t have time. - Kimberly Faith, Episode 2

About Kim

Kimberly Faith is a systems-thinking expert and futurist who is passionate about rewriting our stories. She's the author of Your Lion Inside: Tapping Into The Power Within and is the host of the Sisterhood Report Podcast.

Kim has trained and coached over twenty-six thousand leaders from Fortune 500 companies including Amazon, American Airlines, BMW, Boeing, DENSO, GE, Kimberly Clark, Lockheed Martin, Nielsen, and Target, as well as worked on licensing deals with Warner Brothers, Disney, and MGM.

She understands the facets of corporate cultures and uses her facilitation skills to challenge people to step outside their comfort.

Pronouns: she/her

Connect with Kim


Episode Transcript

Liz Wiltsie: Welcome to What's Leadership? I'm Liz Wiltsie. The more I learn about leadership, the more I'm convinced there's not a one size fits all solution. So I am on my own learning journey and I invite you to join me. EbonyJanice reminds me that being open about my journey is important. Each episode features someone I admire with actionable insight to share. So please join me as I ask what's leadership?

Today it is my joy to welcome Kimberly Faith. Kim is a systems thinking expert and futurist who is passionate about rewriting our stories. She's the author of Your Lion Inside: Tapping into the Power Within, and is the host of The Sisterhood Report Podcast. And on top of all of that, she's my longtime friend and mentor. Most of what I know about leadership I learned from Kim. So I'm super excited to welcome her. Kim. I'm glad you're here.

Kimberly Faith: Wow. That's a heavy opening there Liz, but I genuinely appreciate that.

Liz Wiltsie: What do you see as the number one challenge that leaders of millennial or generation Z teams face?

Kimberly Faith:  I would say that the number one challenge is to learn how to lead complexity. We are in a changing environment, that's at a greater rate than ever before in history. And that means that our systems are being texted the limit.

And so anyone and especially millennials who can actually learn this particular skill, I think will bring a great deal to the table and their value will be immeasurable.

Liz Wiltsie: And so what would be your number one tip, to leaders?

Kimberly Faith: You know, it's interesting. I thought a lot about this particular question and at first glance, it's going to sound odd, but hear me out.

I believe that the number one tip I would give people is to redefine your relationship with time. Everywhere I go, people are held hostage by this perception of, I don't have time. I don't have time. And what I'm watching is that it's leading people to make quick decisions, move fast under this illusion that we don't have time.

And this is the personal challenge that I even had years ago to reframe my thinking, to say something like I've got all the time I need. I have the time to do the important things, or I will, this will happen in the right way at the right time with the right people. You see the difference it's on which syllable are you going to place the emphasis.

Liz Wiltsie: Yeah. Yeah. And, do you think that also plays into the sort of manufactured urgency? Like the idea of like, it's gotta be.

Kimberly Faith: Yes, what's happening. It's leading us or it's leading us to make many poor decisions and we're having to redo the work. So in effect for the long term, we're not saving time at all.

Liz Wiltsie: Do you  think the way that the instant gratification piece of  social media  plays in some of it?

Kimberly Faith: I think it's been the tipping point to make it excessive. Yes. I think this was creeping up for quite a bit of time. And then with the internet, I think it certainly exacerbated it by the time the social media come. It has been, it has been the tipping point that I'm actually now, this is a serious issue, that I'm having conversations with with leaders at all levels of the organization.

Liz Wiltsie: Yeah. So do you have sort of an actionable step that people can take? I mean, you said kind of reframing, I have all the time that I need. But is there something sort of outside of that, that, that folks can use?

Kimberly Faith: Well, the first step, I always believe Liz is the stepping into awareness. So the most important part is capturing, you know, catching yourself when you're in that place of saying I don't have time and rushing.

Cause in that moment is what I call the pivot zone. When we are aware that, Oh, wait a minute. That's a, that's a story I tell myself, is the story true or not. And then literally making a conscious choice to do that and rewrite it and go to a different direction. So it would be learning and almost have fun with it.

Make a little tick mark, find yourself a quarter for every time you catch yourself during the day, referring to the fact that I don't have time, because it is in fact in illusion.

Liz Wiltsie: So what is a book or a concept or a talk that's really impacted you and how you think about things?

Kimberly Faith: Sure. Well, my background is in systems thinking, which at its basic core is about how do you see the forest for the trees?

And so I thought about your audience. And so there were several books I would not recommend, but the one that I would recommend, okay. There is a book called Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows. And what she does is she breaks it down and it's an easier read than all of the other books in this arena.

And it helps you begin to see the system as a whole, because I specifically think that millennials will be gifted in this, in the future because they care at a deeper level and they're not bound yet, but the belief systems that are their selves. So that's the first one. And then the second one is a little book called The Silent Language of Leaders.

And I believe that one may even be available on an audio book, but that's a small book that taps into the whole executive presence. That's an influence methodology and it's an easy read. I've recommended it to all of my coaching clients.

Liz Wiltsie: I love that you picked, ones that are a bit more accessible and potentially a little shorter.

Kimberly Faith: Always know your audience.

Liz Wiltsie: And also, I think, I think sometimes, this sort of age group gets a bit of a bad rap around, like, I want the thing that's fast. I want something that's quick, but also recognizing that like we are, busy in a day. And even if you're just a super busy leader, who's not a millennial, you often don't have time for a book. That's, you know. Yay. Big.

Kimberly Faith: Oh, see, there we go. I don't have time. So. Alright. So I'm just, I'm going to go back to that because, here's the thing is that I believe that a good kind of way to measure yourself is to say, am I spending as much time reading and learning and growing, even if it's listening to podcasts or videos as I am on general TV and entertainment, because it becomes a conscious choice of where you want to invest your life to create this leadership legacy that we're all here to create.

Liz Wiltsie: This is Liz and Kim, vintage Liz and Kim, just so for everyone who's listening to us, this is us like actually probably over like breakfast. But, so I would say in that, but if you are, I tend to, balance that with like time is our only nonrenewable resource. Right. Like is actually the only thing we can't get back, and pushing back on what those sort of false urgency moments are, but saying, I still want the shorter book because I want to be able to hit multiple ideas by multiple folks and like put them together rather than a really sort of long space.

Kimberly Faith: So, but yes, I think there is that piece around, if we were like, yeah, I can watch TV, but I can't read this book on this thing then, you know, where are we?

I will certainly acquiesce to the fact that there's a balance, but I, I do find that when I have leaders who are trapped by this concept of, oh, well, I don't have time to read the book.

Where's the cliff note version. When I start digging into where they spend their time, they actually have a little bit more time than they think. And it's a matter of your priorities. And I absolutely am a fan of reading, lots of different methodologies. I mean, I read books so much from so many people.

It's now become a line item on my budget. So this is serious stuff. So I get it. But I do believe that there's a balance, Liz.

Liz Wiltsie: Professional, your professional development line item budget.

Kimberly Faith: Pretty much. Yes.

Liz Wiltsie: Then Kim, Kim has a library and that's great. so what should I have asked you that I didn't.

Kimberly Faith: You know, what was interesting about that particular question?

I was just at Lockheed Martin yesterday, and I was going to keynote for people who are in this age group and the. Early part of their careers. And I had a chance to speak to almost all. It was probably almost 300 or 400 of them. And I noticed this pervasive issue that happens with millennials in this space around confidence.

And I wanted to mention something to them because this is the same message that I shared yesterday. I understand that there's a lot of legacy companies out there that seem to have this badge of honor for the number of years that they've been around. I was there in the days of Kodak. Okay. I've had a front row seat as I've watched the challenges of GE.

I've worked with a lot of legacy companies, as well as tech companies. And I see that the changes out there, the thing I do know is that the longer we are in a system, the more likely we are to become blinded to real opportunities for change. And I think that's what millennials have the gift to do.

Millennials. Also, I want to encourage them to have confidence while always having a mindset of inquiry, learning about why things ended up the way  they are today, so that you could have a full, understanding, an appreciation and respect, maybe even, compassion for how the system arrived to where it is today, and then give your new perspective to how it could be recreated and rewritten and the future. Does that make sense?

Liz Wiltsie: Do you tend to see a reasonable number of people saying like, Oh, this, sucks  but not really digging into where that sort of historical, where it was, why it got there.  Cause the thing might actually suck, but like grounding it in, in something that's like, here's where we are. Is that?

Kimberly Faith: Well, okay, so it  might  suck today, but it might not have sucked when it started. So I think it's really important that ties back to this concept of systems thinking and understanding the bigger picture, because I think that the perception and the viewpoints that millennials have that say, this is unacceptable.

Why are we even doing it this way? I think that is valid important. And as I told them yesterday, it gives me great hope to what the future is. But in order to add wisdom to that, dive into how it arrived, the way it did, because when we have a greater understanding of how we arrived to that, then we are wiser in the choices and the influence that we make from today from this point forward. It's like a leadership portal past, present, and future intersecting all in this moment.

Liz Wiltsie: Do you have a set of questions that you would, recommend someone in that spot asked to, dig at how that system came to be.

Kimberly Faith: So let me say, I don't think it's as much a set of questions, but I'll tell you I would take an 8.5 by 11 piece of paper and I would draw, a horizontal line.

I would do a timeline. I would put down. I would ask people, what do they remember about that organization? And I would start mapping that on a little timeline. There's a, I'm a big firm believer that if you can't put the story on an 8.5 By 11 piece of paper, you don't have a good grasp on what the story is.

And I would start mapping out what were some of the things that they noted? What were some of the things that were not said? How that fit into the bigger picture of even competition? And I would gain a greater understanding of how each data point emerges within the larger context of the story. So I guess the questions would be inquiry and sincere desire to say, well, what do you remember?

What was it like back then? Do you remember why these decisions were made and use the tool at the timeline?

Liz Wiltsie: Yeah, I love that. If you can't fit it on an 8.5 by 11, then you don't know.

Kimberly Faith: we have this false belief and illusion and the world today that it has to be ultra complex. if you put that in a full circle, ultra complex, if you really understand the complexity, you're able to simplify it in a nanosecond.

Liz Wiltsie: Thank you, Kim. I'm so glad you were here with us.

Kimberly Faith: Well, you were supposed to ask me about a free resource. I have a free resource for your listeners here live well.

Liz Wiltsie: Great. Please tell us about it.

Kimberly Faith: So I will send you, I'm going to share the link where I will encourage your folks to download this article called Breakthrough Branding. And it's a systemic look at their overall career, and it's a wonderful chance for them to start thinking now about how there's several steps within their career.

And it puts it in a simple, easy to understand framework. It's all about how to encourage them to jump in the driver's seat of their career.

Liz Wiltsie: Thank you very much.

Kimberly Faith: You're welcome my pleasure.

Liz Wiltsie: Have a lovely  rest of your day.

Kimberly Faith: I will. And you know what? I really admire what it is you're doing with the podcast. Liz, so kudos to you for having these conversations and showing people that a lot of, a lot of powerful insight can happen in a short amount of time.

Liz Wiltsie: Thank you.

Full show notes from this episode, and every episode are available at 4needs.work/podcast. If you're intrigued by this episode, please subscribe.

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