Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

Fresh is best, isn’t it? I was thinking about this while squeezing oranges, wondering if this tasty treat was worth aggravating my carpel tunnel. I was confident the next orange would be the one to fill my glass, or maybe the next one…surely this one would do it. After a while I regretted passing up the bottles of juice at the local market. Is more better? If you asked me that question right after squeezing those 24 oranges I would have said no!

What about when it comes to leadership and steering the team? Are we trying to squeeze so much into a positive outcome that we miss the opportunities for quality? Are we overloading our organizations in a time we could be scoping for new ways to improve processes and discover hidden talents in our people?

Quantity vs. Quality

Organizations in all sectors are taking a hard hit. It almost feels like our economy is the out of season fruit. Layoffs require we get more done with less. Sometime this can cause leaders to feel they are in a start-up role wearing more hats than they originally bargained for. Remember those carpal tunnel producing oranges? There was a point when there was no more juice. Same happens with people–at some point they stop rendering quality results, creating a negative impact on the culture. This scenario can be mitigated with insight. As a leader, sacrificing quality with watered down quantity is not an option. You can preserve quality when you reduce the “squeeze” on limited resources and find ways to reenergize the workforce. This kind of preservation can be done when you focus on awareness, communication, and culture when pressure might otherwise create the squeeze.

Awareness – Ask yourself, how am I showing up in the workplace? What are the newly developed needs of the people on the team? Let’s face it, in today’s climate, we are in the never-ending situation of “bring your family to work day”. The ability of employees to work when it is convenient for their schedule may produce higher quality work done outside of traditional office hours.

Communication – Develop and deliver a communications plan that is clear, concise, with repeated messaging that broadcasts a sense of purpose. Communications should have empathy. Activate the minimalist in you, reduce your digital footprint, by eliminating any unnecessary email traffic.

Culture – A big part of culture is how leaders prioritize. Filter out the nice-to-do from the need-to-do. This reduces the stress on the workforce and resets each person’s responsiveness. I say if you want to kill your culture, don’t prioritize.

Blends are Best

In this “off-season” aka Covid -19 health pandemic, there may be some surprises in the modified teams we’re working with. Effective leaders lean on unexpected resources. In the office, you might discover someone from accounting has the project management skills you need to move a project forward. Allow your team and cohorts to flex their capabilities and contribute to the work that needs to be done. Harvest the fruits of their labor. This may be the chance to give an out-of-season employee, an opportunity the time to evolve skills you never expected, but really needed!

Contact me to discuss ways you can get the best from your team without squeezing.
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