The great new book by Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram (John Wiley and Sons, Inc.) takes this concept and turns it into a practical tool for those who want to be effective at managing their own lives, leading others and “getting on” well with people, in every sphere of life.
A summary of the five gears
1st gear. Down time. This is how we recharge our batteries. “When you are not recharged or fully rested, it is almost impossible to be present with someone else, let alone add value to his or her life.” “…if you fix your charging issues, if you figure out what first gear feels like for you and discipline yourself to spend time there, more power will flow through you.” Charge up first, work and serve second.
2nd gear. Connecting deeply with other people, usually one on one. “This is time geared toward relationship building without an agenda or pressure to be productive.” “2nd gear is like giving a present to someone…” “You can’t fake connection. Inauthenticity leads to disconnection. Connection will happen if you will be present.”
3rd gear. Social mode. You are fully present with people and are able to shift down into 2nd gear or up into 4th gear. Many of us resist 3rd gear and in the process miss out on the chance to get to know and impact others. “There is a reason why companies spend resources doing social events. It is where business really happens – in the relationship.”
4th gear. Multitasking mode. Working hard in various ways. Leaders typically spend 85% of their time in this gear. 4th gear is important, but many of us spend way too much time in it, or even become addicted to it, checking our e-mail as soon as we get up in the morning and just before we go to bed at night. An overdose of 4th gear can kill you.
5th gear. Focus mode. You are task-centered, fully engaged and moving quickly. You are “in the zone.” Time flies. This doesn’t always mean you are in an office; you can do 5th gear in a kitchen or under the hood of a car. 5th gear is like overdrive, it takes less energy to produce quality work at high speeds.
Introverts love their 1st and 5th gears. They have to force themselves to use their 3rd gear.
Extroverts love their 3rd and 4th gears. They have to force themselves to use their 2nd and 5th gears.
Task oriented types must learn how to do 1st gear, so they have something to give to others, and 3rd gear, so that others will be interested in what they have to say.
Three ways to use this tool
(1) Get better at driving your life. Know your gears. Learn how to shift. Learn the value of each gear and the time and place to use it.
(2) Get better at interacting with others. The favorite gears of those closest to you may well be different from your own.
(3) Teach this material to your team or family, providing a common language for talking about your gears.
5 Gears is one of the most practical things I’ve read for a long time. I couldn’t recommend it more highly.