You Can’t Stop The Waves So Learn To Surf
I read an interesting philosophy about living less stressful in life: “You can’t stop the Waves so Learn to Surf” and I have applied it to business. The philosophy is that the broadness of life brings unexpected things to us which are like waves.
I decided to apply this “Surf the Waves” mindset to handling the stress of the unpredictability that can show up in business and I have found it very helpful tool for Success. It was not until I decided to accept a position to manage a staff of 15 people on a $2 million dollar project that the meaning of this decision really began to make sense to me. As the project leader, I focused on supporting the strengths of the individual members. In this process, I found that inner qualities of patience and integrity were essential and my communication had to be forthright not only to those I managed but to those I reported our progress. For my team, I had to be willing to be clear about the details of the project, which individual would be responsible for what task, invite them to share any issues with task completion. With the COO, I had to be transparent about the progress of the project, handle when their expectations differed from our current status, and ask for support with external resources. Leading with integrity and communicating immediately, allowed me to surf the waves when team members were pulled from my project on short notice, a department head decided to take actions to interfere rather than support the project, pre-scheduled materials arrived on my staff’s lunch break and I was short handed.
I can say that project was successful because it was completed ahead of schedule; however, there was more to success than completion of the project. Success also lies in the details ~ how well each team member performs each day, what critical information is communicated in a timely manner and to the right people, how conflict is handled and how quickly.
The following is a synopsis of what I have learned from my own experience of the waves that can appear in business…
ISSUE: Although I create a strategy based on a project’s scope, I can an unable to predict all elements of that project.
SOLUTIONS: Know my strengths and limiting factors, and accept them because they are good tools keeping me focused on what I can accomplish in the moment. Be willing to take action even if I cannot see the end result ~ the outcome may be different than I think because solutions often show up in unexpected places.
RESULT: Withstanding the challenges, making decisions from values and priorities, and maintaining perspective are the keys to surfing the waves to success.
Filed under: Business Success
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