Whether you’ve ever picked up a hammer or not, you know that you can’t build the roof to a house without building the walls & foundation first. The foundation holds everything else up.
You don’t have to be a carpenter to know that a shaky foundation means pitched floors, crumbling walls & a roof that doesn’t stand up straight.
It’s the same with your foundation. The foundation of great work starts with you. You are your own foundation.
Great work always starts with you & your foundation.
Ok you get why a house needs a foundation. But why do you need one? Your foundation supports the many lenses you’re wearing, the lenses that help you see:
- What to focus on vrs what’s fluff,
- When to press the gas petal & dive in vrs when it’s time to stop & reflect,
- When to focus on results (‘what’ you’re aiming for) & when to focus on processes (‘how’ you’ll get there) &
- When to focus on facts & when to use your intuition
You know your foundation IS strong when ….
- You know not only what lenses you usually wear (e.g. your comfort zone) but also when a shift in perspective is needed. For example you may tend to be a ‘petal to the metal,’ intuitive, big picture kind of person &, if your foundation is strong, you’ll know when you need to shift to a more reflective, factual, detailed view.
- You have faith & space to be flexible. For example you can help others identify their perspective & you bring out the best in yourself (and maybe a team too) so that your productivity and innovation explode.
How do you know when your foundation has hit a funk?
Your foundation has some cracks when your walls are crumbling & your roof is tumbling.
In other words your foundation is wobbly when …
- You don’t feel on top of your game & you find yourself in hyper reactive mode
- You’re often in conflict with others, misunderstandings are rife & repetitive, confusion is common & it feels like everyone around you is pulling in different directions
Do you recognize yourself or your team from any of the above? If so it’s likely you’re in a reactive mode.
Reactive mode is when:
- Results are often hard won; like we’ve struggled through quicksand, storms & battlefields to get there
- Differences become entrenched & are seen as a negative
- Misunderstandings are rife
- Feelings get hurt
- People have their backs up & feel backed into corners
- Lines are drawn & not in chalk that washes away with the rain but with indelible ink so to speak
- There are unexplored areas for innovation (we do the same ol’ same ol’)
- There’s lots of wasted time & inefficiencies
- The learning culture is non-existent or severely limited, for example information is hoarded & not shared
- Emails are cc’d to everyone & their great-great grandmother (hint: this symptom alone is a sign of an organization that has issues with blame & trust (‘you can’t blame me, I emailed them!’)
On the other hand when your foundation is rock solid you’re aware of your worldview, your point of view, your perspective & you can move from being reactive to proactive.
And when your foundation is strong you can assist your team with theirs. I know I’m working with a team that has a strong foundation when they:
- (Inevitably) have conflict, they know how to effectively resolve it,
- Know each other well (both strengths & weaknesses)
- Are functioning smoothly & efficiently.
- Are both resilient & flexible
- Lack an echo chambers. Diversity is welcome & celebrated. Differences of opinion are encouraged & respected.
And ultimately, when I work with individuals & teams that have a strong foundation, their productivity and innovation explode.
Are you thinking about starting your team, building your team, improving your existing team? Or examining your own foundation?
You need to be in on Working Better Together, my online course. We’re doing it again on September 12th. More info & how to sign up here.
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