Step Out Into the Context

Posted: August 19, 2014 in Change, Relationship Building
Tags:
dancer1Too Busy to Dance

Processes and people. Managers all have process and people that they manage. We usually have a lot of knowledge around these.  We’re paid to make these work well together.

Inputs and Outputs. We all have them too. We know what we’re getting and we know what we’re giving. We have expectations around them. Quality, quantity, pace. A lot of reporting and measurement and discussion can take place about inputs and output. They’re very important

Find the Dance Floor

These inputs and outputs are, of course, attached to upstream and downstream partners. And often these are black boxes. Products just flow out of them or product just flows into them. We don’t know much about the people and the processes. We probably have a general idea of what they do, but do we know enough?

Not usually. And often for good reason. We’re busy keeping our own ducks in a row. Department can be in silos organizationally and physically. Competition and distrust can be at play. Many things keep us separated and at hands reach from understanding upstream and downstream partners.

Find a Partner

But in order to have managers and departments who are flexible enough to handle constant change, we need to break these barriers down. We need to understand the context round us. And the context is usually our upstream and downstream partners. We need to be able to dance with them.

What does this mean? It means our understanding of our partners needs to go beyond the inputs and outputs. We need to understand their processes, their organizational structures. We need to understand their inputs and outputs. We need to understand their constraints, their incentives, their priorities.

Having this context helps us understand fluctuations in output or quality. Having this context helps us understand changes in their attitudes or priorities. Having this context helps us be more proactive and more poised in reaction.

This context can also allow us to ask questions. Why don’t we have the same priorities? Why don’t our incentives match up? Why aren’t our metrics in synch?

Start Dancing

Make a concerted effort to understand your partners. If they’re suspicious, manage up. If they don’t’ get it, send them this article. Or this video.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s