The Bigger Picture

Always, there are multiple ways to view things. Keep this in mind, when you get into a difficult situation. Take a moment and step away. Identify the lens you are looking through and try out other ways of looking at the situation. Stepping back and identifying multiple ways to view a situation allows you to breathe, to innovate and to find your best path forward.

 

photo: unsplash.com

Differentiation

differentcolinoobpixabayDifferentiate: to become unlike or dissimilar; to change in character; to make a distinction.

Conformity alone is rewarded in many workplaces. The rewards, however, come at a price. Your conformity robs the world of your unique gifts and talents. How do you balance conformity and differentiation? A bit of each is necessary for your success and fulfillment.

Conformity has to do with knowing the realities of your work world and its expectations of you. Differentiation has to do with bringing your unique perspective to your work. It is an art to balance the two.

You can do it. Start with some experimentation. Bring your unique perspective to projects or issues you deal with in your work. See how it is received and which ideas are successful. There is room for many voices and, when they are heard, you discover the best solutions and approaches.

What new perspectives can you bring to your work today?

 

photo: ColiNOOB, pixabay.com

Balancing Flow And Structure

hurricanetpsdavepixabayIn nature, chaos and order coexist. Flow and structure can also coexist, if you manage them wisely. In our hierarchical systems, specific goals and corresponding measures tend to rule. At the same time, it is recognized that innovation flows from creativity and freedom.

How do you reconcile and balance these approaches? I have found that flow can exist within a flexible structure. Overall aims and goals are necessary, with deadlines. Once they are established, I move into flow, measuring productivity each day and progress towards goals. There is open space within each day for insights, new ideas and constructive collaboration. This requires a level of comfort with uncertainty, the ability to change course and letting go of limiting structures.

Do you lean more towards flow or structure? Do you see them as incompatible? How can you balance flow and structure for maximum productivity and the best results?

 

photo: tpsdave, pixabay.com

Maintaining An Open Mind

ID-10021499A closed mind confines you. You may think it provides a sense of security. However, you are trying to force a small definition on a much larger world. How can a limited view keep you safe, if you fail to see what is right in front of you?

It takes courage – sometimes reality can be hard to take. To maintain an open mind, you must accept the presence of uncertainty, allow for differences and embrace change when you need to.

An open mind has great rewards – endless possibilities, vast horizons and the ability to innovate. Maintaining an open mind may have its challenges, but it will serve you well.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!! May you find your pot of gold today.

 

photos: Idea go, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s Possible?

ID-100303213We often think about what’s practical, what’s immediate and what’s required. How about turning your focus on what’s possible? Think noun (potential) rather than adjective (able to be done). Doing so can lead to innovation, engagement and progress.

Let the mundane go for a while and dream – in the present moment – of what’s possible. Is there somewhere you could make your mark? What effort is needed? Break through the small mind to new directions, solutions and accomplishments. You can do it.

What’s possible for you and for your team today?

 

photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Where’s The Fun?

ID-100289146Fun actually can enhance your performance at work. Do you build opportunities to have fun into your workday? Fun reduces stress. Fun fuels your creativity and imagination and improves your mental health.

Why has fun been written out of many workdays? The reason could be that stress has taken over. We are much too serious. We drive ourselves very hard, to the exclusion of balance.

Could you use more fun in your workday? What can you do to create it?

 

photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are You Curious?

dreamstime_xs_42166511My Dad used to say that one of the best gifts you can give your children is curiosity. Curiosity is an inquisitiveness and love of learning. It creates movement, questioning and an interest in others. Are you curious? Is it an innate trait or was it instilled in you? Do you value curiosity in your own work and life?

Some say curiosity killed the cat, but if you don’t venture out, life can be pretty limiting (not to say, boring). Sure, curiosity can get you in a bind once in awhile, but most times it results in learning, growth and stimulation.

As a manager and leader, there’s a lot to be curious about. What are the best motivators for each of your team members? How can you do a project differently? What’s possible if you shake things up a bit? Are there new rules that would benefit your team? How are others approaching the problems your team is trying to solve?

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein

 

photo: Robin Eriksson | Dreamstime.com

The Unknown As Adventure

ID-100280272Acceptance of the unknown is central to our ability to risk, to move forward and to master new skills and experiences. To succeed in work and life, we must face the fear we have of the unknown. It is not an easy task to let fear go completely, but we must face it and not let our fear of the unknown control how we work and live our lives.

One way to begin to release our fear is to start looking at the unknown as the adventure it truly is. We can create small unknowns such as taking a day off, making no plans and seeing what shows up. Or, leading your team in a time of uncertainty, by directly identifying the presence of the unknown and finding ways to navigate it and see it as an adventure The definition of adventure is: an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. Note the use of the word hazardous in the definition. That speaks volumes about our society’s view of the unknown. We can prepare for hazards, yes but also put our focus on the exciting and unusual.

The unknown can lead to innovation, unexpected successes, new experiences and exciting discoveries. The next time you encounter the unknown, approach it as an adventure and see what happens.

 

photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What Is the Source Of Your Creativity?

The ability to innovate is closely tied to sustaining the source of your creativity. Creativity can come from going within, accessing your intuition, keeping your mind active or being stimulated by outside sources or experiences. There is no set formula for creativity.

What’s important is being aware of your innate creativity and doing what you need to maintain it. Do you know the source of your creativity? What is your latest creative act as a manager?

 

photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Doing Things Organically

In hierarchies, work is performed within processes and structures that are well defined and often rigid. An “organic” approach to managing is modeled on evolving and dynamic processes that change according to the circumstances and people present. It can be compared to an ecosystem, in that it is shaped by interactions among a community with a common focus. Although there is process and structure, it is a bit looser and evolves with time, according to the dynamics of a group or project.

The advantages of doing things organically include:

• Rather than following one-size-fits-all procedures, you are dealing with real-time events and developments in a project, allowing you to rapidly respond with solutions tailored to the particular situation

• There is more room for innovation, without rigid and confining requirements that do not consider the particulars of your project

• You design your approach according to the team you have and the particulars of the project, increasing your chances of success

How can you test and develop organic managing approaches that work for you? Here are a few things you can start with. If you’d like to go further, make a blog comment and we’ll start a discussion

• When you start a project, bring your team together to discuss how you will manage the project and ask for their constructive input. Topics addressed can include: individual roles and responsibilities, performance goals, communication methods and frequencies, limitations and strengths of the group in meeting the goals of the project and how you will incorporate them in your approach and how you will make space for innovation and course correction.

• Hold periodic “touch base” meetings where your team and you evaluate progress to date and make suggestions for improving performance

• Allow some freedom for team members in how they approach their tasks. The “touch base” meetings can be forums to assess how things should proceed

• Create open space sessions for your team, several times during the project, to foster innovation

Doing things organically is a natural process that works. It provides more freedom and flexibility and fits well with our current business environment of rapid response, tailored solutions and a constant flow of new information.

photo:  smarnad, FreeDigitaPhotos.net