The things we fear most in organizations
fluctuations, distubances, imbalances
are the primary sources of creativity.
Margaret Wheatley, American Organizational Author, (1944)
There is endless variation involved in working with groups of people, but there are also commonalities that have proved themselves over time:
Mosh Pit, Square Dance, or Something In Between
When a group of people move together, they must adopt or invent 'rules of engagement'. It's the leader's job to call the right dance for the music, dancers, and occasion.
Process is Great ó in Small Quantities
In situations where there is a lack of clearly defined process the thoughtful addition of a small amount can bring great results ó but 'too much of a good thing' can quickly inhibit performance.
Respect Tradition, Then Question Tradition
When new to a group, respect their traditions (they may have been put there for good reason). Once you have been there a while, challenge their traditions (they may not still fit).
Articulate What You Do (and What You Donít)
Organizations that do not define who they are will have it defined for them. If you want to be focused, then define what your organization is and Ė just as importantly Ė what it is not.
Opportunities Can be the Biggest Distractions
Nothing has the power to derail a big win quite like the pursuit of a small one. Be clear on what your goals are and pursue those at the exclusion of all else.
People Often Donít Know What They Need
When faced with uncertainty, many people adamantly feign confidence, then make a guess at what is needed. If the request doesnít match the situation donít be afraid to ask why.
Causes are Few, but Symptoms are Many
You can spend a lifetime chasing symptoms, but only in addressing the root cause will cure stop new symptoms from occurring. Find the cause and cure the disease.
The Creator of the Picture Controls Perception
If you are the person that frames up a problem or situation, then you are also the person that controls how others will see it. This can give you great leverage in driving a solution.
Engagement is Easy (If They Get the Credit)
Itís amazing how much you can accomplish when you are not attached to getting the credit. Actively give it to those you work with and they will be eager to help you.
Make Your Priorities Clear to Everyone
It's easy to be overwhelmed by everything that you cannot accomplish. Focus instead on what you can and make sure your priorities are clear to all ó this will make your value self-evident.