December 11, 2017

Archives for February 2016

If they’re not getting along, build more process

Four business people in a discussionIf a group of people who are supposed to be working together aren’t, or at least not very well…

We can, of course, work on their ability to relate to each other and that’s a good thing to do.

However…

It can also be a sign that we need to build more process; to create more system and structure.

Sometimes, groups struggle to collaborate effectively because there are too many sources of ambiguity, leading to frustration and resentment.

In my experience, help the participants create some structure to work within and things often get a lot easier. Clarity increases and frustration diminishes. But they may well not be able to create that structure on their own. No one member has enough influence with the others.

So, if in doubt…

If they’re not getting along, build more process. It could be the easiest way to strengthen the team.

Obvious? It would seem not.

Aiming for less to get more

GatheringIt’s a funny thing…

Sometimes we need to aim for less, to get more.

In leadership and management, it’s tempting to demand a great deal from another person in the hope of getting some of it. Actually, we risk getting none at all if they are demoralised by the seeming impossibility of the expectation, or if trying to meet it makes things impossibly complicated.

That’s not to say that we should accept only what the other person thinks is possible.

No…

We can push for them to exceed their own expectations, just not in such a way that our vision is wholly out of sight. And we need to know they can do it.

In my view, we’ll do better if we stay within reach of what they think is possible.

It’s like towing a ship: Pull too hard and the tow line will break. And forward movement will stop.

All of this is brought home to me with my son with special needs… We realise that learning sometimes needs to proceed in tiny steps, matched to his pace, otherwise we don’t move forward at all: The flow of knowledge stops, he disengages, and we end up with nothing.

The principle is the same with the rest of us: The steps might be bigger, but the need to preserve the connection remains.