Last week my six-year old son’s soccer coach was on vacation, so I took over. And I loved every bit of it! (Minus the ultra-competitive coaches on the other team.)
I have been working with my son on how to kick the ball hard. He was trying to kick it from midfield (on a shortened field) into the goal. But he was getting frustrated when he couldn’t make it there.
During our 1:1 coaching I watched as he would approach the ball straight on and when he kicked the ball, his little leg would stop immediately after he kicked it. His body stopped there, too. Although he was doing one thing right by name: Kicking it with the inside of his foot. Yet although he was kicking from there, it wasn’t the correct part of the inside of his foot.
So I told him (in six-year-old parlance),
“Because of the way you are kicking the ball, you will never be able to make it in. No matter how hard you try, the physics won’t allow you to. To make a goal from here, you need to change the way you are kicking the ball.”
- Approach the ball from an angle instead of straight on.
- Swing your leg around.
- Follow through with your leg.
- Keep running after you kicked it. This lets the momentum and strength of your body carry through to the ball.
Much like this kick.
Once he put all those things together (which took some time) he kicked it right in the goal! It was a really fun teaching moment.
As I was watching him, I thought of many of you.
As he struggled to kick the ball hard and straight, you struggle dealing with
- employee engagement
- employee apathy
- unnecessary red tape
- lack of trust
- power struggles
- ego-driven decisions
- feeling like a cog in a machine
- unbalanced hierarchical power
- stated, but not practiced values
You can easily add to the list, but my purpose is not to depress you.
Rather, here is my point…
It is possible to transcend these issues, but you need to work differently.
Why do you think that after all the last decade plus of technological and intellectual advances, we aren’t getting any better at how we work? We still struggle with the same issues. If anything, we have only become incrementally better. Barely.
And as my son would kick with the inside of his foot, but not the right part or in the right way, many may say, “but we have tried and it hasn’t worked.” Yes, you have tried a form of it, but you really haven’t tried it in the correct way.
So I say to you what I said to my son.
“Because of the way you are managing your team/company, you will never be able to fix these issues or reach the potential you strive for. No matter how hard you try, the physics won’t allow you to. To make your goals from here, you need to change the way you are working.”
The way we work has hit a ceiling of effectiveness.
We can try our very best to overcome these vexing problems, but we will continue hitting our heads against the brick wall and then blaming other factors for our failures.
We won’t lick these issues until we learn to kick differently. We need a different approach. One where these issues disappear because of the way we are structured.
Until we look to this thing some are calling the Future of Work, our foreheads will continue to be bruised and blood red and we will continue to be frustrated. If you like that, continue on. If you know and can feel there is another, better way, let’s learn how to make the change.
Over the next number of posts, I’m going to explain how this is possible and show examples.