Over the past week there’ve been a few moments in which something happened which sparked a deep understanding of lessons I’ve learned in the past. Seeing the situations from afar it was easy to to do the obvious and question how they happened without being taken care of immediately. In a matter of minutes I developed a sick feeling in the pit of my gut. I’ve fallen victim to the same mistakes.
Today I’m grateful for these difficult situations as they are reminders and guideposts for me for future behavior and strategy.
One lesson I was reminded of was how quickly, and insidiously the erosion of a great culture can occur. When culture and values are not focused on, encouraged, and enforced the actions of a team can quickly slide. Small and simple behaviors can have a tremendous impact – for better or worse. A busy day that results in an area not being cleaned may not seem like a big deal in of itself, but if it is not quickly corrected the next day will see less cleaning and more waste will pile up. At a certain point the task of cleaning becomes so daunting that it is completely skipped, and then the entire operation becomes a garbage bin.
Small actions can quickly add up and erode a culture. How many times have I looked away instead of taking action? How often do I take a shortcut instead of taking the time to fix the situation? Should I focus on our values more to keep them at the forefront and the standard operating process of our culture? So much to consider and think on.
When looking several steps and months ahead I know I can get my best work done. I’ve got more options, more flexibility, and more possible solutions to challenges I won’t know about until the end date gets closer. If I pause, think through the end goal, start way earlier than I feel like I should, and set a plan in place with a forgiving timeline I am more assured of success.
This lesson was embedded into my thought process again recently as I saw the problematic side of winging it and over committing. There are less solutions. The challenges that come up are more difficult. The work needed adds up to significantly ore than would have been needed with planning.
In pondering this it reminded me of times when I gave myself less time than needed. I pushed hard towards a goal without enough time because I failed to fully prepare and build a timeline. My goals have failed because I didn’t provide the resources needed at the very beginning to get off on the right track. No one to blame but myself for the failure, frustration, and wasted energy. What projects and tasks do I have ahead of me that I haven’t given the appropriate time to? Where should I pause, breathe, re-group, and plan in order to be successful?
Both of these lessons and several others have unfolded in front of me this week. As I watch them, internalize them, and learn from them I’m reminded of an even more important and bigger picture lesson… attain distance and look at my life as if I was a third party. What advice would I give myself? When seeing the challenges of others I must remember to not be smug and grateful for not having the issue, rather I must remind myself I’ve made the same mistake and now have a wildly value opportunity… what can I learn from this?