Omniwomen Basecamp: Leading at Speed with Sophie Devonshire

I had the pleasure of attending my first Omniwomen event last night at MG OMD’s offices where the incredibly enigmatic Sophie Devonshire (ex P&G, Coca Cola, Leo Burnett, now CEO of The Caffeine Partnership) took to the stage and spoke about how we can all lead with pace in a world constantly moving at incredible speed.

The evening started (rather aptly, given Sophie’s company moniker) with my favourite cocktail – an espresso martini, expertly served from the MG OMD bar. Yes, they have an official bar… and a bike trolley that new joiners get to drive around the office to introduce themselves (Let’s get Tim P to cycle it over to Minerva and do the rounds one Friday soon?). As a result, we were suitably perky and eager to take note.

A nice fact to kick things off…Did you know Marriott celebrated opening 1,000,000 rooms in 2015, 88 years after opening? Congrats Marriott. The same year Airbnb celebrated its 1 millionth room – a paltry 7 years after launch!  This boldly highlights that businesses are growing at warp speed and therefore we need to work out how to pace ourselves, teams and organisations too.

Here are my top 5 highlights from the evening:

1) Set the right pace: we are all ambitious, so chances are we are quite impatient too. Work out when you need to sprint, rest and pace. Be a pace-setter for your teams and get the best out of your people.

2) Plan the Pause:  do this before you start a project, plan the pauses at work, your week, your calendar and holidays. If you want to be at your best, you need to plan a rest. If your clients are impatient and want to get from A to Z at speed, plan the pause. You can phrase it in such a way that it doesn’t sound negative – “let’s take a strategic pause and make sure we are on track”.  When you pause you work out which direction you want to go in and this can end up being more efficient in getting from A to Z quicker.

3) Time management is not important: it’s about energy management. Understand your own energy levels. Monday is a terrible day for a team meeting apparently, but Tuesday is a great day as everyone’s firing on all cylinders and positive about the plans they set for the week. Consider a “low-fi Friday” where you get those admin tasks done and fire off emails to a client as they may be more willing to read them and act.

4) Strategic Laziness – think about what you say no to.  Have a “Don’t Do” list where you focus on your strengths and don’t do the things that slow you down. Find a way for someone else to help with those!  They say, if you want something done, give it to a lazy person as they will work out the quickest way to get it done!

5) Be a hummingbird – it’s the fastest bird relative to its size. Possessing an incredible sense of timing, amazing hearing and eyesight, it hoovers, with its wings flapping at high velocity, knowing when to pause and take back energy), it’s able to pivot and respond quickly. The ultimate in agility.

If this subject interests you, you can download Sophie’s book “Superfast: Lead with Speed” or borrow my copy anytime.


About Author


Leave A Reply