Paul Farina on the Rhythm Effect: an alternative to working harder and longer (#15)

How do you respond to overwhelm? 

If you’re like me, your default reaction is probably to work harder and longer. 

But is this the best way to deal with overwhelm? 

Does this approach make us more productive? 

What impact does it have on our relationships? 

Today we talk to Paul Farina about the rhythm effect, and how we can be more intentional about how we respond to overwhelm, so that we don’t have to sacrifice health, relationships and opportunities. We discuss several practical applications of the rhythm effect including team cohesion, leadership and feedback. I found the discussion on feedback especially interesting. 

 Paul is an Educator and the Author of The Rhythm Effect: A leader’s guide in team performance.  Paul has researched the value of being able to sync people, with their environments, systems, and each other. Finding rhythm is the absence of doubt, hesitation, and friction – all things Paul has experienced as a Sportsman, a Practitioner, a Business Owner, and Corporate Leader.  Paul now speaks to groups about the power of rhythm, and how professionals of all types can master it to synchronise their teams and create meaningful progress for their communities.   

We hope you enjoy this insightful conversation with Paul Farina. 

You can connect with Paul on LinkedIn or through his website

You can listen on Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher or Simplecast

Show Notes

2:00 – stood out as a cricketer because of hard work.
3:15 – pushing through the pain to succeed.
5:01 – the answer is not working harder and longer.
8:39 – how rhythm effect impacts relationships.
12:05 – energy and time wasted through in-fighting.
12:41 – unexpected effect of resentment.
16:06 – leadership as a technical skill.
19:37 – process for better meetings.
20:17 – return on effort.
24:46 – why is it difficult to stop working harder.
26:39 – how do we get out of the busy trap?
29:42 – giving better feedback.
32:20 – examples of investing time instead of spending time.
36:43 – feedback vs hurting someone’s feelings.
41:25 – example of giving feedback.
44:38 – the courage to speak up.
49:32 – practice is key.
52:30 – busy lazy.
54:52 – picture for what rhythm looks like.
57:36 – busy as a badge of honour.
01:00:06 – connecting meaning to our work.
01:02:20 – getting in touch with Paul.

Links to References

Andrew Zesers: bowling coach 

Gennadi Touretski: swimming coach 

Alexander Popov: greatest swimmer in history 

Danny Meyer: “Who wrote the rule?” 

Quote from Lone Survivor: “Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards.” 

The 85% rule for maximum return on effort 

 Col Fink: 99% commitment is really hard 

Situation, Behaviour, impact feedback model

Social Loafing 

GROW model


The Rhythm Effect by Paul Farina 

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday 

The Rebel Skill by Franchessca Gino 

Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott 

Key Quotes

“Me as a cricketer was pure hard work……and wanting to win” 

“There were negatives, I was just flogging myself and the more sweat the better.” 

“I have got shin splints, I feel like I’m bowling too much what should I do? His answer was bowl through it!” 

“I’m getting 10% growth, I’m exceeding budget, I’m enjoying work and seeing progress and in a terrible economic environment and was working 20 hours a week.” 

“The more I relaxed, the more I had a smile on my face, I was able to cut out stress and extra problems.” 

“At the centre of rhythm…we are in a space of calm, it actually breeds calm.” 

“If you are in a calm state, it will affect the people around you… will make good decisions.” 

“When we are in a group our performance gets masked by the group.” 

“Imagine you are the leader of a team…..the performance is not what you expect…high achievers will cover up the cracks…I call that robbing the struggle…we get division, we get fragmentation…resenting others.” 

“The overall group resented the people who follow the rules rather than the other way round…it was almost like a goody two shoes kind of thing.” 

“The point was a group of friends wanting to have a good time and not to win an actual board game.” 

“People are not viewing things through the same context and wasting time focusing on the wrong things.” 

“A level of Emotional Intelligence separated good leaders from the rest.” 

“The game that we are playing is energy consumption rather than power…to help them glide over the water rather than power through it.” 

“It is not about getting to the end, it is about getting to the end using the least amount of resource.” 

“Can you do your job in the allotted time, with the allotted resource? That is the question.” 

“There is a lot of hard working professionals who are not taking time to reflect…we just plough in, we just go….we go harder and harder.” 

“When we are decision making, trying to problem solve it is often our ego that gets in the way.” 

“My definition of humility is fundamentally to be in service of others…we become happier more content ourselves, more relaxed, more calm.” 

“Feedback is a GIFT you are giving to someone else.” 

“Audacity…when I see something that is not right…I’m not going to be passive.” 

“Tenacity…if feedback doesn’t go well it doesn’t mean you give up…you try again.” 

“One of the biggest learnings I had, was when I had a second in charge that made my life a living hell…it was a really uncomfortable time…eventually the person moved out of the team…about 3 months later that person got marched out of the business by police…I now reflect on that with humility and thought well that was on my watch…all of it could have been changed if I was able to give good consistent and well purposed feedback.” 

“We try to be nice and we get squirmy…instead let’s make this clean: it doesn’t look right…can you talk me through that?” 

“Sometimes rather than building up the courage, we should stop and choose our words…it is not about you, it is about the thing…so what do you think?…and then do this beautiful thing …it is called listening…then come to an agreement.” 

“So many of us have the excuse that I’m too busy to have that [feedback] conversation” 

“I’m hearing the sheer volume of energy expended on something that doesn’t exist.”. 

“Courage is the overlap of audacity and humility.” 

“Your second time round of bringing up a few other things is more comfortable…the more that we practice the easier it gets.” 

About the author

Divan and Mark are co-hosts of the Candour Communication Podcast where we discuss interpersonal communication and all the human stuff that gets in the way.