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Hot Mess

Published: April 03, 2019

Quick thought…

Consider how hard it is to balance our own lives.

I’ll use myself as an example. I’m a sucker for shiny object projects. Oh a video! Sure, let’s do that…

Hours later…

Meanwhile I have been putting off getting my son’s passport, fixing the doorknob, pulling together a conference talk submission, playing some music again with non baby toys, and setting aside 10–15m for some exercise each day. I should call my mom more, and it would be great if she could FaceTime her grandson. But that would require me setting up an iPad and mailing it to her.

Hold on, I need to hand-clean some baby bottles because I’m stubborn and refuse to install an expensive water filter (our water is very hard).

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I’m back.

I am in awe of people with super dialed in personal organization systems. I’ve had some good runs, but find it hard to not fall off the wagon.

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Anyway. This got me thinking. It is easy to talk about organizations in the abstract. More concretely, organizations are filled with humans. And humans are human. How we respond to work and work challenges is predictably human.

  • Moving something forward feels GOOD. Momentum is comfortable (and we seek it like a drug).
  • When blocked, we always will try to find a way to create value (no one is lazy). When we’re blocked for a long time, we lose a sense of relative value.
  • When we’re overwhelmed for a long time, we lose empathy (surviving not thriving).
  • We want to avoid conflict.
  • We get distracted. We’re often fickle.
  • Our own problems are system problems, their problems are personal problems. We forget we are constrained by the same system.
  • We all crave some level of status and appreciation. So. Is it a surprise, given our own challenges, that getting groups of humans to do things is hard? Getting ourselves sorted is hard enough sometimes.

And that’s the thought. It starts with us. When it comes to our teams, we can’t just expect everyone to just get with the program. We can’t expect everyone to conform, and think/behave the same way. We need to look inward.

It’s super hard, and we need to respect that.