Brighton Leadership Group

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Sponge Squeezing on Vacation

As we were finishing our strategic session last Friday, our client, a C-level executive on her way to vacation, shared that she’d be online this week and would be happy to work on the VP presentation. Today’s tip is dedicated to this executive and everyone who goes on vacation with the intention of “checking in”.

On vacation you need to take time
to squeeze your sponge.


In Managing at the Speed of Change, Daryl Conner explains the concept of the sponge. “Within each person is a limited capacity for assimilation of change. When a person’s finite resources of intellectual energy and physical stamina are used up it doesn’t matter how much the person wants to change, he or she is out of capacity.”
Many things can “suck up your sponge space.” There are personal changes like getting married, going back to school, starting a job and caring for an aging parent. There are work changes like a new assignment, a process change or a new boss. There is also the pace and speed of your work that can absorb your sponge capacity.
No one is super human with a limitless sponge. When you take time to understand your capacity and manage it well, you will improve your ability to recover from change. You will achieve greater success with less effort.
When you are saturated from change, it’s helpful to understand that you are not crazy and there is nothing wrong with you. Step away from the sponge and decide whether you want to wring it out (reduce change and complexity) or grow it (practice resilience).
The purpose of vacation is sponge squeezing. This is a chance to get away from the pressures of daily living and squeeze deeply. Don’t rob yourself of this time to get control of your sponge. Soon enough you’ll be back at work and filling up.


“In memory of a fabulous wine night in the BVI – sponge squeezing”

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