Bridging Leadership Lessons from the Workplace and Those Experiences Shaping Today's Youth and Tomorrow's Leaders
Do you remember as a kid how you agonized over cleaning your room? Typically, you would spend more time whining and trying to avoid doing it then it would actually take you to clean it. As adults, it often seems the same dread you felt as a kid when facing the chore of cleaning your room, returns to you when you are dealing with challenges at work that require change and improvement.
Cleaning is not necessarily the same as organizing. If the vision for the outcome is unclear, you can spend time vacuuming, dusting, and throwing away the old candy wrappers to the point where your room is shining. But you still have piles of clothes on top of your dresser instead of in your dresser. You may have taken every display item off your shelf and wiped them down but put them right back where they were.
Many times, cleaning a room doesn’t reduce the content, it just rearranges the clutter. It’s new piles of the same stuff. Having an aligned vision that is well communicated between both parties can really help make sure that your time is spent working on things that add value.
Under/Overestimate the Size and Scope
Typically, when you are a kid, you see cleaning your room as possibly the largest obstacle ever faced by mankind. NASA might have sent a man to the moon, but I would like to see how they would go about cleaning up this mess. It’s going to take me… let’s all say it together… FOREVER!
But quickly, as we get into it, we realize it isn’t as big a deal as we thought. We remove the dirty clothes and take out the trash. Wow, it starts to look better already. Pick up our toys and put them back into the toy box or on the shelf and you realize you are almost done.
But there were other times, much rarer, when we thought to ourselves this won’t take long and I will meet my friends at the park and will be playing that game before you know it. Then you realize that you haven’t cleaned or organized your room in a very, very long time. Sorting through the stacks that represented the best of your life for the last few years. You question whether you can both clean AND organize your room in time for you to still make the game. Do you have to change the scope and ask forgiveness or take your chances and suffer the consequences. You start to regret not taking the time to clean your room all those times your parents reminded you that it needed to be done but you were just “too busy.”
Bogged Down by the Clutter
It is like staring down a driveway in winter with snow drifting up onto the car and it is still snowing outside. Where do you begin? How can you even show progress? As the feeling of being overwhelmed hits an anxiety level, you start to break things down logically and you create piles. Typically, you start with what needs to go. In today’s world, we now consider what goes into the trash and what needs to be recycled. Interestingly enough, this concept is true for projects, reports, ideas and also people. It sounds much colder when you talk about people, but it comes down to if they are not performing or are a distraction, then how do you provide guidance, training, or refocus to help them be successful.
Your next pile is stuff you want to keep. Now this is tricky because as a kid, you always kept cool stuff. Things that meant something to you at the time. But you must consider if they are of real value or just a distraction. Is it something that needs to be displayed on a shelf and shared with others? Is it something that you want to hang onto because it will be valuable someday or that it something you want to share with others in the future, so that one goes into storage.
Then you have stuff you don’t know what to do with and you either keep it, or you leave it in a pile and hope someone else can decide. That stuff may go into a garage sale or to good will. It may get passed down to your sibling or you give it to your best friend because they always liked to play it.
The challenge is to not be distracted by the clutter. It’s easy to let yourself reminisce on the memories and experience the feelings associated with all you have collected. That personal connection can often cloud your judgment and cause you to hold onto items that you should be removing from your room. You justify why it’s important and why you must keep it. You commit to playing with that toy more, but the next time you have to clean your room. There it is again. Taking up space. Still cluttering your room.
As adults, our life comes down to how we clean our rooms. Do we have aligned vision and purpose with those we work with and share our lives with? Do we take the time to understand the challenges before us so that we can properly work to overcome and improve? Do we have plans to prepare for the future state and minimize the challenges that we are facing and prevent a mountain of clutter piling up and instead of digging out, we are sorting through? Minimizing the clutter in our work, our life, and our minds is beneficial to keeping our own house clean Beyond Today.
Tom Brown - a husband and a father who is simply trying to make a difference. Using my experience as a Manufacturing Executive to connect leadership from the boardroom to the hardwood to help teams grow and develop to make a difference in the lives of others.