Whether you call them ‘opportunities’ or ‘problems’, there are 3 main types:
- The problems/opportunities you recognize, as such, and do something positive with
- The problems/opportunities you recognize, as such, but still get the better of you
- The problems/opportunities you completely don’t see or can’t change
I assert that you’ll benefit from all three… but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
The Ones You Recognize and Work Successfully
Example: You keep bumping up against a wonky department workflow and implement a much-needed improvement.
As a result, you – and others who rely on the process – benefit, directly.
The Ones You Recognize and Work Unsuccessfully
Example: You keep bumping up against a wonky department workflow and implement a revision that turns out to make things worse.
It’s important to recognize that you – and others who rely on the process – still benefit, though, because once you all realize that change IS possible, you just need to find the right change that serves its intended purpose.
The Ones You Don’t See or Can’t Change
Example: You keep bumping up against a wonky department workflow and learn to be that much more efficient in navigating your way through it, as it stands.
This can actually still be thought of as a ‘win’, though – for both you and others who rely on the output of your efforts – because you all directly benefit from your greater efficiency and effectiveness.
Better is Not Always Better
Perhaps it’s stating the obvious, but there are likely far more wonky intra- and inter-department workflows than you ever imagined even possible!
And while idly complaining rarely does much to make anything better, trying to fix everything in your path – trying to make it better, regardless of the cost – is a recipe for burnout, snobbishness, and dissatisfaction.
So yes, try to fix what can be fixed. But if you can’t – because of very real systems limitations, interpersonal constraints, priority overrides, or… whatever – your time will be much better spent figuring out how to work with it, as effectively as possible, rather than against it.
I don’t mean to sound jaundiced, but a ‘perfect world’ – where everything operates exactly as you would hope it did – rarely exists in the workplace. So sometimes, you just have to deal with the hand you’ve been dealt. (Isn’t that a large part of why your employer pays you?!)
Your ultimate success – and reputation – will more likely result from how you handle all that’s sub-optimal than your efforts to ‘correct’ everything that’s ‘wrong’ or ‘in your way’.
So pick your battles, carefully, please.
Post ScriptI hope this post has helped you learn something about yourself. If so, please make a point to share your insight with others as a way to "lock in" your learning.
While you're at it, I'd also appreciate you telling them about LeadershipTraction and the resources available, here, on-line, at www.leadershiptraction.com including:
• my other blog posts
• my leadership tutorial downloads
• my newsletter archives
• the curated content on my LeadershipTraction Facebook page
• and, of course, my book, Leadership Haiku
P.P.S. If you have a question or comment about this post, just let me know. I'll do my best to get back to you, straightaway.