Through the Looking Glass: Embracing Dispersion

Posted: September 23, 2014 in Change, skills
Tags: , , , ,

dispersion1Life is so scattered and overwhelming. So much going on inside the mind and outside in the real world. We spend so much time trying to get our hands around it all, trying to collect it and manage it.

We think we are jugglers who must continue to juggle more and more things. We think must hone our juggling skills to take on every new problem that comes along, become virtuoso jugglers to cope with the world.

We invent new technologies to help us juggle more and more. We become tour de forces of juggling. We become multitasking, juggling maniacs. We get really good at it. The complexity of it all.

Except isn’t that really bad? I know dealing with complexity seems so much more impressive to others than dealing with the simplified. Yet we expend so much energy juggling we hardly have any left for the task and objects we are juggling. They are just tasks to be completed so we can move onto the next. We lose context. Lose track of the reasons why.

What if we just stopped juggling? Just said no. Just came to grips with the unsustainability of it all. Let all the balls just fall to the ground. Let them just disperse back into nature. It’s a leap of faith, I know. I’m asking you to walk through the looking glass, which is full of the unknown. Let’s at least do it in our minds. It will be fun. Trust me.

Imagine those fifty balls in the air held up by your juggling skills, by your project plans, by your smart devices, your applications with in applications and so on. Now imagine turning the machine off. All the balls have fallen to the floor and scattered about the room. And in front of you see this complex system that’s trying to hold it all together. Probably rather too complex for its own good.

Now look around the room at all the balls on the floor. Think about the things you are trying to achieve or must achieve. Rank them, prioritize them. The higher the priority the more difficult it is to juggle. Now start picking them up in order. Start to juggle them. Ignore the old system. Juggle as many as you can without gadgets and applications. Juggle them so that you’re giving each object the attention it deserves. In this way the new system will self-define itself without sacrificing the needs of the individual pieces. That’s good juggling.

Are you meeting all your main priorities? Maybe, maybe not. If not, is that semi-critical important ball one that you need to juggle or could someone else? These are the questions you need to ask for every ball you want to bring back into play. You have to make choices. As one strategist once said, he who defends everything defends nothing. We all have to leave things undone.

Let the balls fall. For your own good. For the balls’ good. For everyone’s good. Let your priorities disperse so they can come back together more focused than ever. Be the ball.

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Comments
  1. vontoast says:

    A great post. I never was good at ranking priorities. I have however learnt to juggle with less balls. How many balls do you need to juggle? Is one still called juggling? Why must we multitask? Some days I let the ball(s) fall and that’s okay.

  2. Dude! You’ve been listening in… have *just* been coaching a change team on the importance of dropping stuff so it shatters. I think change managers do themselves a disservice by picking everything up – it obscures that the system is broken, that the key players are not doing what they are meant to. Sometimes we need to drop stuff and leave the shards on the ground for others to see to get the decision makers engaged… great stuff!

  3. joegergen says:

    Reblogged this on Fortress of Dissolitude and commented:

    From Once More Unto the Change, I think this will appeal to you all.

  4. uniao13 says:

    Great post, I’m thinking you would really enjoy this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvWk3Xt5MPg

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