Everything has a natural flow.
This is true for you and me, for our teams, and for our organizations. We might call it style or culture or even dysfunction.
But whatever the case, there is a way that things go more smoothly. And there is a way that they don’t.
Figuring that out can help you to improve your performance.
You can be more effective if you understand your own strengths, weaknesses, and natural tendencies.
Your team will work better according to its natural rhythms. Your organization will adopt things that fit the culture more easily than it can embrace things that fall outside of it.
Our family trips always remind me of this.
Lessons from Traveling Around
We just got back from Key West. Anytime we go to a new place, we do a fair amount of research in advance (thanks again for the helpful tips from you all!). But there’s always more to learn once we’ve arrived.
One of the most basic but important things to figure out is how to get around. When we went to Chicago years ago, we struggled.
The kids were young and movement was slow. When we visited the zoo, we learned that hard way that the nearest train stop was a long walk to the zoo. It was also a long walk from the train to other sites like Wrigley Field.
This made everything longer, slower, and more tedious than we had hoped.
Then, we discovered the bus system. The system was highly advanced with easy access to accurate live tracking of bus movement (way back in the prehistoric days of 2011). We could be picked up and dropped off with pinpoint accuracy. It was cheap and easy to use.
We went from struggling and frustrated tourists to delighted visitors achieving some level of mastery in navigating the big city.
The same thing just happened in Key West.
We rented a car, but driving and parking is tight on the little island. Our hotel offered a shuttle, but the service was not well organized or run. There was lots of jostling for seats and a high risk of missing your ride because the shuttle did not have enough capacity.
Then, we rented bikes.
Key West is made of biking. The whole place is flat. Bike lanes are prominent. And there are bike racks everywhere.
Getting around became simple, easy, and fun as soon as we followed this natural flow of the city.
How Things Flow at Work
The same things are true at work, of course.
Your team, your organization, your industry has a flow to it. There are ways that information moves around most naturally. Outcomes are influenced by certain methods more than others. The culture supports certain types of things and not others.
If you observe this carefully, you can find ways to move about more easily. You can find ways to maximize things.
You can avoid wasting time and energy trying to go against this flow. Or, if you have to go against it, you can do so more strategically.
These are basic but important things to understand and use to your advantage. Spending a lot of energy wishing things were different can be a waste. Leveraging the natural flow of things to your advantage can help you to have a much bigger impact more easily.
You probably know a lot of this about your environment already.
You might want to pay a little more attention and find ways to use what you observe a little more strategically.
You may find that making a few small changes to make use of the natural flow can make a big difference in your success.