The Shortest distance to Great

colorful toothed wheels
Photo by Digital Buggu on

Between cadets and DayJob, I’ve been thinking about resiliency and commitment quite a bit lately. If you don’t have good resiliency, it can cause you grief. I’m pretty good at the resiliency thing. If you don’t have good commitment, though, it causes everyone around your grief. Hopefully if/when there are commitment issues around you, your resiliency skills are up to the task of not punching someone in the throat. You can’t compel commitment in others, they have to get there themselves, and that crux is where anxiety grows. The problem (the additional problem) is that the Speed of Anxiety is far speedier than either resiliency or commitment can grow to fill in the space. There’s probably a Legit Science formula for this somewhere…

Still, you know how ridiculous some bodybuilders look – all hulked out with giant pecs and lats and arms and no neck, but teeny spindly legs? You can only build up your resilience so much before the process needs commitment from everyone else to make it healthy. Don’t skip leg day.

Sometimes, though, commitment goes sideways in unhealthy ways. Like when you have to think about the difference between “taking on more responsibility” and “overstepping your authority” lately. It’s a fine line, and one that isn’t easily navigable by lots of people. Even if you know where the line is, it’s easy to trip up in your enthusiasm. One is about helping load balance so that it helps everyone, and the other is about taking power away from someone else so that it helps only you.

Every job I’ve ever worked has touted the career benefits of initiative. When you find a problem, just fix it without having a 27 step program to decide if and when and how you’re going to Do The Thing. Find gaps in the process/information set/whatever, and noodle out a solution. But then, the other side of that is stepping on people’s toes to impose your big plan on them. The lynch pin is getting buy in from stakeholders to make it good for everyone.

There’s a responsibility matrix called RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) that, when used correctly, gives every project the team of people trying to accomplish something the tools they need. You know what lane you’re in, and you don’t go Tokyo-drifting into other people. Ain’t nobody wants that, right? Although, the only reason why my house watches Formula 1 or the Tour de France is to watch the crashes, so what do I know? It’s great unless you’re the one in the wreck, for sure.

I’ve been watching child coming up with great plans for his cadets this year. He’s got some innovative ideas to improve things. That’s the commitment part. When he meets resistance, he addresses the concerns thoughtfully. That’s the resiliency part. He doesn’t just try to shoulder in and muscle through.

It’s pretty great to watch.

I’ve got a new boss (and a new boss’ boss). They’re trying to get to know the team, which is good. There’s some renewed energy for solving some of the things that make us hostile. But in doing that, we need to tell them what those things are. Because of course you can’t solve problems when you don’t know what those problems are. When you can’t – or just don’t – wrap words (or thoughts, at least) around the problem, it always kind of feels a little like Stockholm Syndrome. There’s some unpleasantness, but really, it could be worse. It has been worse, so this is good. It isn’t great, but remember how awful we felt before it was good? So good is good. Good is Enough.

I took the questions from NewBoss and NewBoss’Boss as “what does Great look like”, with their goal being that we collectively figure out the path to Great.

But in the room, it felt like others were answering it as “this what not-great looks like”. We just want this thing to NOT happen. We want to NOT have this in our world. So when those things go away, what takes their place?

And then, because the universe provides, I read this: May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.

Make good choices, friends.



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