Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Chaos vs Madness

We often hear change is hard.
We also hear change is necessary ("change or die")
Change is part of life
Change is life
The only thing that stays the same is change
And we know leaders, if they are leaders, must manage (lead) change.

As an employee/ entrepreneur who is going through this process with a large team right now - it is fascinating to view different peoples' perspective on change.

There are those drivers who thrive in an environment of chaos.
They don't need all the details
They've been here (or somewhere close to it) before
They rise to the action, directing & creating action and ensuring follow through.
They actually see order amidst the chaos and they somehow have a bit of fun with it.
However, sometimes this group reaches the summit of the mountain only to turn back and realize their team is in a heap along the path up.

There are those 'balancers' who dread chaos because their identity, personalities, and even operational roles revolve around keeping people informed, engaged, and functioning together. They see chaos as everything getting screwed up, the ball being dropped, possibly even the end of the world.
Even if they are 3 steps from the top of the mountain, they have trouble seeing the horizon because they are extremely people focused and the pack is far more important than the pace to them. It is really hard for this group not to get caught up in, perpetuate, or lose sleep because of the inevitable drama chaos brings.

And last for the purposes of today's entry (there are certainly more than 3 types of people) are the detail police. The micro-managers, the analysts, the approval committees. These are perhaps the most flustered by chaos because during times of stress, they need more data, more time to analyze it, and they need second opinions and research into action plans before implementation can be fathomed for them. They don't thrive in chaos - they see it as madness - unproductive, reckless, irresponsible madness.
Even if they are 3 steps from the top of the mountain, they have trouble seeing the horizon because they are extremely detail focused and the plan is far more important than the pace to them.

Personally, I belong to the first group. Objectively, good businesses and good organizations need all 3 types. All three present strengths and inherent dangers if allowed to operate in silos; however all 3 working together can create a detailed, methodical plan that the majority of the group is bought into that actually moves quickly. How often do we see this in business???

I hope others can relate to today's entry at a high level - as although this is a nice to read on hypothetical terms- it can be a life-savor or absolute deal smasher in implementation.

Great leaders need to manage chaos, but they also need to assemble diverse teams, and pull from the strengths of the group vs over-using their own. As the old saying goes - if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far - go together.

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