We’re all trying to make a difference. There’s a lot to do. Operate the business today. Evolve the business for the future. And navigate changing demands from customers, markets, technologies and people.
The question is how we get it all done. Lots of moving parts mean plans and solutions are uncertain. People have different priorities and are hard to engage. We’re busy, but not having enough impact. Something is missing.
The challenge is this. We humans like working with boundaries. We find work we like, and we get good at that. We leave others to do the rest. We build whole businesses like this, in sections. It’s not perfect – there is friction between the differences. But we learn to cope and it becomes ‘business as usual’.
When business as usual isn’t enough, we create projects. We bundle up parcels of innovation or change to make a difference. Projects still have to operate across boundaries, so now there is friction from the different views, and from the change. Progress is … mixed.
And now even this mixed approach is under pressure. With technology we have created a hyper-connected, shifting world. We work across boundaries all the time, and things rarely relax into business as usual.
Work is stretching us out of our comfort zones. Organised businesses have to get creative. Creative businesses have to get organised. We often need to be organised and creative at the same time. Weaving the two together to handle shifting demands and still move forward.
This requires us to release our grip on what has worked so far, and move into new territory. To handle new choices and build new solutions, we need more robust and flexible ways to make decisions and solve problems. That will feel confusing.
“We can’t be creative if we refuse to be confused. Change always starts with confusion; cherished interpretations must dissolve to make way for what’s new.”
Margaret J. Wheatley