For all the talk about entrepreneurs, perhaps the greatest thing a CEO can do is achieve omission by an act of commission. Meaning: If you can create a product or service that prevents someone from doing something, you may very well enable that individual to accomplish something else of infinitely greater value – the chance to free himself from the tyranny of smartphones and tablets and the entanglement of the Web, which imprisons more than it inspires; which captures more than it captivates, resulting in stress, anxiety, fear, paranoia and a sort of digital malaise – a kind of virtual flu – that is as exhausting as the real thing. Imagine, therefore, a business world that is more productive – and free – because of what we do not see: People touching, taping and swiping the screens of their mobile devices, to answer this or that email, respond to some invitation or reply to some text message, or be at the ready whenever those items ring, ping, vibrate or chime.
Unless we find a way to liberate ourselves from these devices, and that solution (more about below) is available right now, we will continue to waste billions of dollars, workers will continue along the path of dysfunction and discontent, and productivity will be as empty as it will be nonexistent. Thus, we have a choice to make: Either we perpetuate a broken system, which is neither good for workers nor healthy for employers, or we address this problem with speed and simplicity.
I write these words from experience, where I am the Founder and President of Zentools, the maker of a bag with a time lock which enables people to put their devices away for a specified period – and free themselves of the tyranny of the Internet and the addiction these items inspire.
This solution, which is entrepreneurial by design and ideal for any and all entrepreneurs, gives workers – particularly those at a busy startup – a chance to breathe – literally; and regain their bearings, and focus on matters of major significance, not minor importance. It gives them the time to think deliberately, not act impulsively, so a vision can emerge, a statement of purpose can form and action can ensue. That scenario is impossible without the freedom to pause, and the liberty to perform your job without interference, delays and excuses.
For it is the simplicity of that bag that is the key to experiencing zen. It is the practicality of that bag, portable by form and effective by function, that is the answer to a question that otherwise bedevils entrepreneurs and established executives alike: How can I maximize the talent at my disposal without squandering or exceeding the limits of that resource? How can I, in other words, be a better leader?
Unless we can credibly respond to that query – to those queries – we cannot chart a plan forward to renewed productivity, increased morale and better worker satisfaction in general. Unless we resolve this challenge – swiftly and surely – we cannot have an organization that operates well or performs its duties properly.
The Takeaway Lesson: Freedom Is a Good Thing
The takeaway lesson from this discussion is that freedom is a reward that yields long-term dividends. It is a gift unto itself, providing the quiet we need and the contemplation we deserve to practice.
It is our moment of zen.
An entrepreneur and writer, Jeffrey Sada is the Founder of Zenlock.