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The Trickle Down Effect

"Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action." -- James Levin

The Trickle Down Effect

It never ceases to amaze me how frustrated I can become by the simple fact that my job can't be completed until someone else does their job. Are you a part of a team where it seems no one else places the same amount of importance on the same items that you do? Of course we place importance on those things that are the most important to us and it becomes obvious rather quickly that everyone else has their own ideas about what is important or what takes priority.

So what's the answer? Well there are many, from a logical standpoint, we must continue to impress upon the team what we need and by when;from a peace of mind standpoint, we must step back and look through their eyes. Quite simply: People come from their own perception and people have a choice. If 5 people see a car accident, you get 5 different perceptions. If 5 people have 10 things to do in one day, each of the 5 will chose a different order to handle these 10 or perhaps elect to not handle some of them at all. In addition, people all have different learning, processing and behavioral styles. Some are big picture people, some are detail people, some are implementers, some are planners.....it takes us all to make the world go round and yet different styles can sometimes try one's patience. Lastly, we don't have a clue what is going on in the other member's life at the moment and giving them the benefit of the doubt is always a good rule to follow. This can get old, however, if it continues to happen indefinitely.

It also depends on where you are on the team, are you the driver or in a back seat? To use Jim Collins analogy of the bus. Sometimes the person in the back seat is vitally important but doesn't always get the recognition or 'priority' that the driver does. If you're in the back of the bus, can you make people aware of what you need and what piece that plays in the big picture. It may even be a foundational piece. If your driving the bus, let them know where you're going and what role each of them play on the team and the importance of supporting each other. And if you're the one holding the bus back....wherever you're sitting, please take note that you're driving some people crazy!

We all a choice of whether we play or whether we don't play. Usually, if you want to keep you job, you need to find a way to play that works for you and for the team. This involves some self reflection, some communication skills, some observation and of course some patience. You may also find that you grow personally in the process which is a really good thing.

After all of the above, you find you're still frustrated or you can't find peace of mind, then perhaps you want to ask yourself, am I in the right position on the team (the right seat on the bus) or am I even on the right bus? Reflection is a good thing. Action to take:

Regularly, take time to reflect on what has been happening in your life. Step back to work ON your life instead of IN it. See yourself as the C.E.O. of your own personal company, or as the captain of your own ship. Are you navigating the waves as well as you might? How does your navigational style affect others? How is it affecting you and your future? Is there any need to change your style? Can a coach help?

Stepping back helps us see a bigger, more inclusive picture. Small events make more sense in the bigger scheme of things.


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