Skip the Next Crisis

I love the phrase “next crisis”: it’s a quote from Battlestar Galactica and in the context that’s in my head every time I say it, it’s about coping with storms and pressing on. My wife Angela Gallagher loathes it: she visibly winces every time I say it and to her I think it’s defeatist, maybe even revelling in defeat before having tried something. She’s right, I’m wrong.

That doesn’t mean I can shake the phrase or that I enjoy it any less, but we’re heading into the part of the year that is particularly busy for a lot of people and I found myself thinking the words so often that maybe it is damaging. For I can’t say I particularly noticed the summer but apparently others did because it went quiet for a while and now it’s all back getting busy, which has to be great, doesn’t it?

I have so much to do in September and October plus the tiny bit I’ve got arranged for November is pretty certain to balloon out. I’m a freelance writer and I live for my work so this has got to be a fantastic time for me: I hope it’s a fantastic time for you.

But I also hope that you don’t see what’s coming up as a series of crises. I’ve gulped at my calendar yesterday and actually it seemed an overwhelming thing, I wondered how I could do everything and I wondered if I could please go hide away for a bit.

Yes, you’ve got a lot on but if you don’t take time to enjoy it now, you never will. Hang on, that could be an idea for a film.

When your team at work isn’t working as a team

I saw something like this at the BBC a couple of times:

If your team deals with important issues and team members have strong views on those issues, you can end up in a deadlock. When that happens, people dig into their own preferred solutions, operating from a unilateral control mindset where everyone believes that he or she understands the situation and is right, and that those who disagree just don’t understand the situation and are wrong. When all team members are thinking and acting this way, it creates a vicious reinforcing cycle. The more people try to prevail, the more people stand their ground, and the less likely it is that the team will ultimately resolve anything.

How to Break Through Deadlock on Your Team – Roger Schwarz, Harvard Business Review (7 July 2015)

I admit I read that and thought oh, bless. It assumes everyone on the team wants the best for the group, that the only difference is in how they think it should be done. In this positive kind of world there are no people out for themselves, nobody who sees this job as a temporary stepping stone to a better one if they come out looking good.

So I’m not recommending you follow every piece of advice in this boy scout kind of article but this is Harvard Business Review, they ought to know what they’re doing, so I am saying you should read the full piece.

The short answer is that talking to everyone and learning what brings them to their conclusions can help. It can, it’s true. Firing a few people focuses the mind too.