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Entries from February 2011

Balancing Chaos and Order

28th February 2011

How many of you are currently in the middle of some form of organisational change? Maybe a reorganisation due to some cost cutting, developing a new team to take on a new product or market or changing the way you operate to be more competitive, or in the process of merging two organisations? Change is constant, and yes I know you have heard that many times before but let me ask you this question. How good are you at managing it? Have you actually learned from your past experiences and are actively putting those learnings’ into practice? Are you taking some time to think about what is required and taking people with you? Are you actually managing the change or allowing it to manage you? Managing the equilibrium between chaos and order is a fine balance when in the midst of change. My experience is that most organisations want order rather than chaos, when sometimes a little more chaos may bring about a quicker and better result. I am not advocating that chaos is the way to go, but just maybe we hold on too tight to controlling everything. So how can you keep your feet in both camps and make steps forward rather than be frozen by what seems like an overwhelming challenge. Well the first thing you need to do is STOP! Take some time for reflection either as an individual or as a team. Working at top speed isn’t always productive. Mistakes can easily be made and aren’t often spotted. When they are spotted a level of rework is often required which may actually take longer than it would have if we had just gone a little slower in the first place. The second thing to do is BREATH. Taking time out for a ‘pit stop’ gives you the opportunity to step back and really think about where you are heading and actually take a breath. Are you on track? Are you taking people with you? Where do you really need to put your efforts for the optimum impact? Take a long deep breath and review where you are. Lift your head up and check that you are heading in the right direction. Have you got the right balance of control, or are you holding on too tight? And the third thing to do is move forward taking small steps. In doing so be clear about what it is you are committing to internally and externally. That is what are you personally committing to and what are you asking others to commit too. As you move forward also consider what it is you and/or your organisation needs to stop doing or ‘let go’ of to create the change. All too often I see people continue to do the same and then add to it rather than rethink what they need that is different. In moving forward be comfortable ‘not knowing’ what may be ahead. This way you will be more open to what opportunities may transpire. This may sound simple and indeed it is, however putting into practice isn’t always easy. So what practice can you put into place that can make you even better at managing/coping with the mass of change that is around? It may be something personal you can do or something with the team. Choose one thing and start practicing it either weekly or daily and review your progress. Find what works and do more of it. “Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” George Herbert

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