Where are we and how did we get here?
Lead Coach and Facilitator at Choose Leadership | Working with Purpose Driven Leaders and Organisations
green boat in dry dock

It’s that time of the year again. No Mo May is over and the grass can be cut. The bees are flourishing. And the year is almost halfway over! Man alive, where is the time going?

Indeed, where is the year going? June is the perfect time to step back as a team and share stories about where you think you are at and how you got there.

I don’t mean aligning around the green, amber and red of your dashboard. I mean taking the time to figure out where you are in relation to your context. Teams, like ships, acquire barnacles as they sail. (In case you are wondering, barnacles are a type of arthropod, and although they look like mollusks, are related to crabs and lobsters.) What you need to know is that barnacles attach themselves to the underside of boats, i.e. below the water line. They are hard to see unless the boat is empty or in dry dock to undergo repairs.

Over the past 6 months, your team has likely been busy working together, performing and responding to the environment in which you operate. And everybody in the team has also been busy making stuff up. Yes, even you. To draw on Jennifer Garvey Berger’s wonderful book “Unlocking Leadership Mind Traps: How to Thrive in Complexity” your team has likely:

  • Aligned around simple stories to explain where you are, blinding you to the complexity of your context
  • Developed a sense of rightness about what you are doing and why, buttressed by the soothing emotion of certainty
  • Nurtured a comfortable groupthink which dissuades counter-intuitive thinking about key assumptions
  • Become unconsciously trapped by ego and driven by the need to be seen as likeable, smart or successful (take your pick)

So what can you do?

It’s the middle of the year. Why don’t you plan to gather as a team and have a conversation about:

  • Where did you aim to be at the end of the year?
    Where did you want to be by this point of the year?
  • Where are you right now, really?
  • What’s the explanation you tell yourselves about where you are? What’s your story?
  • How do you know that this story is true? What’s your evidence?
  • Assume your simple story is only part of a bigger story, or indeed, only one possible story that might be true: What facts are you ignoring? What are you overlooking? What do you actually not know?
  • Now imagine there were at least 3 different possible stories about this:  What would be a different story? What would be yet another different story? 
  • What have you become aware of?
  • Knowing what you have now discovered, what do you want to change?

Complexity mindtraps are like barnacles which attach to the bottom of your ship. Take the time to put the ship in the dry dock for a day and discover what has attached itself to your boat.

If you want support to do this, Regina Vogel and I at Choose Leadership can help you have this conversation and get ship shape for the second half of 2023. Reach out today to find out more about how we can help you be on purpose and achieve your goals.

#chooseleadership #leadershipdevelopment #leadershipcoaching #complexity #mindtraps

For leadership coaching and developement, get in touch

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