Culture Curiosity Human Resources Performance Productivity

The trucks running through your head

A culture story about control, speed, urgency, respect, ease, and curiosity.

Do you have, get, make time to think?

Or is your head mainly a six-lane highway full of traffic and trucks trying to make their way through day in and day out?

The highway metaphor and the cultural components from the book More Time to Think by Nancy Kline.

Proverbial highways with trucks that create a constant noise always seem distracting, preventing you from focusing. 

Highways with trucks built and operated by managers worried about company profit, their bonuses, and your productivity to help them achieve those.

Otherwise stated, is your culture one of control, speed, and urgency?

Hence the highway of goals, KPIs, OKRs, meetings, reviews, more meetings, and more reviews.

A never-ending flow of to-do’s running through your head. With only one purpose. 

To make sure you get stuff done.


Do you have time to think within the boundaries of an average workweek?

Most people with trucks in their heads do their thinking late evenings or during the weekend.

If they get time to think at all.

I also know of companies where it’s expected to be available and ‘ON’ 24/7.

I frequently ask myself, who does the thinking there when I hear of such a culture?

Or when does thinking get done?

Is time invested in thinking, or are you mainly appreciated, rewarded, and paid to execute what the bosses have figured out?

It doesn’t have to be that way, and you know that.

It’s undeniably proven that companies with a thinking environment for everyone are more creative, more healthy, more productive, more engaged, more happy, and yes, also more profitable.

Erikjan Lantink

Those are the companies where there’s a culture of respect, ease, and curiosity.

Do you find those attributes inside of your culture?

You may say yes, but let’s ask again after we look at these three separately.

Respect is not just about respecting each person working in your company.

Respect is about giving people space to think, share their perspectives without fear of repercussions, find their way to integrate work and life, and feel appreciated for what they do.

Would you agree?

Ease is not a lack of productivity.

Ease does not mean that people are slacking, or perhaps you believe you have too much headcount.

Ease means people find the time to pause, reflect, and make proper decisions.

Ease means people can blend work and life well together so that there’s no consistent feeling of stress, pressure, or burnout.

Ease means you can slow down and speed up again.

Curiosity means people are interested in what’s happening within the company and how things get decided, interested in getting to know each other better, curious about the work others do, willing to communicate proactively and professionally, and always want to learn to grow.

What do you prefer?

A culture of control, speed, and urgency.

Or a culture of respect, ease, and curiosity.

Those two don’t go together if that’s what you’re thinking.

You may see elements of both, but you won’t be able to classify them as profoundly rooted cultures.

You hardly see control and curiosity going together. You also don’t see respect and ease going together with speed and urgency.

It’s not that it can’t be done but it requires leadership ambiguity, freedom, and ownership.

The pressure to perform often doesn’t allow the patience to build such as culture.

Your turn: Curiosity of Control.

Do more of what makes you happy!


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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