The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

The small increments

Not too long ago, I realized during a team coaching how ideas we had shared with others led to a slow change that has now changed the way the organization views its activities. Combined with hesitations as to what people in the organization look for, it gradually meant that known values eroded. It happens in just the same way in our society.

Reading through social media, I find it hard to recall how we used it some 10 years ago. What I remember though, is that it served a different purpose for me then. Over years I used it to keep track of what people I had met and appreciated were doing. Today, when I browse through social media, it is either anger that is thrown at me or sugarcoated peace messages. Both come from people I still believe to have the best of intentions.

I’m reading this with a growing discomfort at the way people become active, assuming that it is what they have to do and what their right is.

Expectations as to how they have to be treated, expectations as to how their life should be, and expectations as to what justice is, all shifted. Many of which without any consideration for the progress made over the years.

What was gained yesterday has become owned forever. It transforms today’s world into one that is far from what it is expected to deliver.

In teams, this evolution appears too. It is supported by a lack of constraints. The more that seems possible to achieve, the less there is regard for what is not happening today. It shows in the fear of accountability, that is in the fear of conflicts, that is in the fear of disappointments within the team, that is in the fear of failing as a leader.

But most often, this only becomes visible retroactively. Asking “why?” enough times will give a multitude of reasons why the current situation is as it is.

Proactively, what is not used as it could, are confrontations between reality, expectations, and promises. That is, confrontations based on reciprocal values of care, respect, trust, and commitment.

They are served by constraints. Being open to sharing what these values mean for the individual. Being explicit as to what they are serving. Developing clarity as to how this purpose serves the institution and how individuals can connect with it. Remembering that commitment is to the task as much as the people involved.

The biggest constraint is to stick to the choices once made as well as taking the time to review them regularly. It is looking back to see what constituted the journey, to be able to see what the upcoming journey can be made of. Its starting point is now.

It’s as much the unsaid as the said, the recognized and the denied, the activity and the passivity.

The future is made of small increments.


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