Ever since I was a kid and started taking daily showers, I shampooed my hair each time. That’s just what “you” did: Lather, Rinse, Repeat as it said on the bottle. It was as much a part of my morning routine as brushing my teeth; a habit I executed without thought or question.

Then my hairstylist suggested that “intermittent washing” may prolong the life of my coloring and suddenly, whether or not to shampoo became a conscious decision. I skipped a day here and there and found that I had better results. Who knew?

I think the principle applies to other aspects of life. Instead of having tasks or habits on autopilot, it is beneficial to occasionally stop and consider whether your current routine is for the best. Does that report really need to be produced weekly (is anyone looking at it?) or could quarterly suffice? Are you still changing your car oil according to the old guidelines or have you extended the interval based on new technology? Did you consider whether holiday cards are still relevant and worth sending in the era of social media where everyone now knows your day-by-day updates and may not need the annual recap?

It’s easy to “lather, rinse and repeat” without effort, but if you apply some intentionality to your routines you may find you have the capacity and resources to apply to something that really makes a difference.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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