It only takes one.

 

This morning, while at a café having a meeting, I witnessed how one person could literally bring a system to a halt.

 

This is a traffic example, but I believe the analogy is directly applicable to organisations, projects and innovations.

 

To paint the scene, the traffic was flowing in both directions. Every individual was playing their part, being an active part of the system, following the rules (both formal and informal).

Then one car decided to buck this system, attempting to turn across traffic where they shouldn’t. In doing this they effectively blocked the lane behind them…. Then having successfully done this, they repeated the feat with another act of stupidity on another lane (stopping in the middle of the road to chat to someone on the curb.

 

The affect of this one individuals actions was to stop all progress for a period of time.  This resulted in a backlog in other parts of the system, who all reacted in the same way … impatient outrage, followed by creative attempts to make up time achieve their goals… which further stressed the system.

 

People who know me well will attest to the fact that I dislike superfluous or meaningless process. But process is a key lever in organisational output, you need it

 

 As a manager, part of your job is to challenge bad process, but also to adhere to the good ones.  

 

So,  who within your team is the “one” holding up everything thing behind them and what are you doing to remove the obstacles they have created?

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