Everyone goes through this now and then. There are times you’re just a creativity bank and everyone gets ideas from you. Then there are those other times we all hate – when it seems we don’t even have an ounce of creativity. These are some of the things that I’ve seen kill creativity…
I am of the opinion that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Spirit, Christian without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God and Heaven without Hell – William Booth
Rules, policies and organizational culture define organizations. They determine the environment within and the subsequent product or service delivery from them. Rules policies are often the result of efforts to govern people’s actions and systems.
They are necessary. Organizational culture is developed over time. Not everything that ends up a part of an organization’s culture is intentional. At the same time, there are unwritten rules.
Rules and policies are used as means to get people in the organization to act a certain way. When you introduce a new rule or policy in your organization or team there is an important question you should ask: Are we introducing new rules and policy because we’ve failed to shape the culture?
You know when parents have failed to instil values and try to get their children to behave how they want by use of rules? It works, only for a while.
Because of rules, people on your team may act how you want them to but with negative attitudes. Rules and policies are generally regarded as the ‘fun police’ hence the tendency to treat them with contempt.
When an organization starts relying heavily on rules and policy to control people’s actions, it has failed to set a positive organizational culture.
Constantly churning rules and policies results in drones and not a particularly motivated or passionate team. Instead of governing people why not inspire them by encouraging a positive culture. A positive organizational culture is core to purpose and innovation.
Culture embodies philosophy and principles while rules control the known. The former will help navigate the unknown while the latter is high maintenance and has to be constantly changed with circumstance.
Rules and policies are necessary. But, make sure that you are not using them to accomplish what a positive organizational culture should be doing.
We’ve all been there. Some of us are there. And, at some point we’re all going to get there again. I mean that place of being overwhelmed. Bill Hybels in his talk at the 2011 global leadership summit, highlighted three levels of challenge.
Namely, under-challenged, appropriately challenged and dangerously over challenged. It is at the place of being dangerously over challenged that not only our being as individuals but our work and output that is negatively affected.
Why and how people reach and exceed their “overwhelmed threshold” vary and include, but are not restricted to:
Taking on things that are beyond one’s ability or expertise. This is one of the most common reasons. In the times you feel overwhelmed you need to be honest with yourself in this regard. This may result from not fully understanding the implications or requirements of tasks we take on.
Before taking on something do your best to make sure you understand what it will require of you. If there is a skills gap you need to close, you will be able to close it in time for the deadline? Do I have enough means to aptly equip?
There are moments where our ‘superman streak’ kicks in. When we’re convinced we can handle all one million things simultaneously. The truth is not always. Even the ‘multi-taskers’ have a breaking point.
Know where yours is. Consider the times you’ve been overwhelmed. How much did you have on your plate when you started feeling overwhelmed?
Another easy source for being overwhelmed is not having clarity. This may be in the instances where one does not have clear limits hence they end up trying to cover everything. In another post I wrote about the freedom of boundaries. You can read it here.
This particular reason may be one of the most discussed reasons for people getting overwhelmed. The inability to say “no”. Failure to say no may lead you to taking on more than you can handle. This doesn’t exactly fall under the “superman streak”.
There are generally two options here, you could play nice guy by saying yes, but be a bad guy when you’ve failed to deliver as expected. The other option is to be honest when you cannot handle something and be a bad guy in the moment but nice in that you do not stand in the way of a task being completed by someone else.
They are inevitable. Working on tasks with deadlines that are too close to each other is one of the biggest causes of being overwhelmed.
It is prudent to make sure that your deadlines have enough gaps between them or delivering on them at the same time is realistic. The other challenge is how to appropriate attention and resources between the competing deadlines and task?
From your experiences or observations, what have been some of the causes of being overwhelmed?
I’ve attended so many conferences I’ve lost count. So much that I’ve now come up with my conference attendance manifesto. I’ve accumulated enough notebooks for a library of tomes of my own. I admit with every conference I attend, there’s a subconscious me that thinks through the theme and actual content delivered.
I contemplate the relevance of the conference to my felt needs or the felt needs of my team. There really is no point, besides bad time-wasting, to attending something that will not benefit you in the future or present! My conference attendance manifesto: