With apologies for the bowdlerisation of the 1992 US Presidential campaign’s famous “It’s the economy, stupid!”
Working recently with a whole team of new people and in a culture that puts a huge store on relationships I was strongly reminded of the need to get the right balance of task, process and relationships.
What do I mean? well when you are up against a deadline it’s very easy to focus on task, task, task! “We just need to get the job done”.
As I sat in the umpteenth meeting room, all alone, waiting for everyone else to turn up, feeling impatient to get on, I started to see things in a different light ……… my facetious side thought “Just abandon all hope of getting this done quickly”, my insightful side reflected “Use this valuable thinking time to work out a better strategy” – then the two came together: to quote one of my favourite sayings ‘What’s the definition of madness?’ “Keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result”.
That’s when I remembered what I’d forgotten.
In any (business) endeavour you need to work on 3 aspects – task, process and relationships. You need to focus on whatever the task may be and ensure it gets done – but to do that you also need process – a means of getting there, and people or relationships to get it done. And you must be constantly reviewing and rebalancing these to get the best possible progress and outcomes. Concentrate only on task and people will feel bruised, misunderstood, demotivated…. take care only of the people and nothing gets done. Without some process you don’t have a way of achieving anything.
So I just sat back: one by one they came in…we chatted, we got to know each other. We put everything on the table and talked it through. In no time we were all throwing in ideas, feeding off each other’s creativity – having great fun, enjoying each other’s company – and most importantly, making decisions and agreeing a way forward.
That’s what makes business work…. How’s your balance?
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