I write a lot. That is an unavoidable truth. I’ve been putting my thoughts on this site on a mostly-weekly basis for several years now. While having an audience is valuable—and I’m grateful for the feedback that I do receive from readers—in many ways the person that I am most writing for is myself. I write to think, and I think to learn. Sometimes what I have to say surprises me as much as it might stimulate thought for someone else. And that is entirely the point.
Much is made of the value of stretch goals. Managers love them, consultants pontificate about them and employees are victimized by them. There is irony in stretch goals, also. Those those people and organizations that are best able to leverage stretch goals often don’t. What constitutes “stretch” is variable, and varies for each of us. They are not necessarily attainable, at times they aren’t even reasonable, and in all instances we are walking the razor’s edge between success and failure. We need to be okay with that. Especially now.
There is procrastination, and then there is procrastination. One of the most insidious forms is, “I need to do this first, to get ready.” Theoretically, this is all productive work. It is us getting prepared and focussed. We are making sure we have our ducks in a row, and we are committed, ready and able to do our best work. Practically, we are in many ways avoiding the thing that we say we want to do most. It doesn’t have to be that way.
It is not entirely clear how long it will be before people are comfortable inhabiting meeting rooms again, even for very short and focussed interactions. Which raises some fundamental questions about how we go about having strategically important conversations. Our current reality changes how we facilitate, how we interact and how groups explore, unpack and resolve complex and messy questions. In trying to figure out alternative strategies, there are some fundamental problems that need to be solved.
Given our current reality, many of us would like to hit the reset button. But we need to define just what we are resetting. And where we would like to reset to. Our currently reality is one of stress and uncertainty. It is also one of opportunity. Played right, we have the opportunity to reframe what we do, how we do it and who we do it for. That’s an opportunity we are rarely faced with; the opportunity lies in taking advantage of it.
I have been a consultant working inside organizations for three decades and more. In that time, I have been involved in the creation of numerous methodologies and practices, and the implementation of many organizational change efforts. I have described myself as an organizational consultant of some variety or other. So you might reasonably assume that I consider my clients to be the organizations that I serve. You couldn’t be further from the truth.