Advertising
Advertising

Take Your Laundry Off the Line

Take Your Laundry Off the Line

In multi-team meetings, there are frequently situations where people within the same team contradict one another. I might view the project as being accomplished in one way; my colleague might come right behind me and say it can’t be done that way. If there’s any sense of time available to get things done, take that coversation offline.

  • Unified Message– Airing your differences with a teammate in a group setting tells the rest of the team that your contribution to the overall project will be less reliable. Giving the impression that your part isn’t well considered and the unified belief of the team throws doubt into the mix.
  • Opportunity for More Cooks– Sensing your disagreement, external teams now feel empowered to mettle with your team’s decision and recommend the best alternatives based on their team’s needs, not your internal workings.
  • FUD– Whenever fear, uncertainty, and doubt can be exploited, it will. (Ask anyone in the US). Within a project, any part of the project that makes other teams feel uncertain is the elected “whipping boy” of the project. You can rest assured that if it’s your part of the project, you’ll be eating a lot of time in explaining, reassuring, and restoring confidence.

Here’s some advice for ways you can avoid these circumstances, and then some advice for firefighting should the problem arise.

Advertising

  • Clear Roles and Plans– Before any multi-team meeting, meet with your colleagues and be sure you’re all going in there with the same roles and plans. I know this sounds stupid to list out, but it bit my ass not more than 45 minutes ago. Believe me, it can be missed. Be clear. Be clear again. Make the other person parrot back that you’re both in agreement.
  • Agreement about Curveballs– Agree ahead of time that if someone throws out something in the meeting that no one was predicting, that you’ll take the conversation offline, decide what to do, and then report back to the coordinator promptly. Thinking on one’s feet isn’t everyone’s strong suit, and worse, if someone’s a “yes man,” you might find yourself politely smiling while a colleague sets you up to certain failure.
  • Jump in, Go Offline– If all else fails and your colleague decides she has the right way to do things, regardless of your previous planning, interrupt as politely as possible and recommend you finalize things offline. Mention that there are some final details to be nailed down, but that you’ll get back to the coordinator (or project manager) promptly. Don’t be rude. Let the other person and yourself keep “face,” but do your best to squelch that signal promptly.
  • Fight in Private– The next failing when these situations occur is that the fight almost always takes part in the hallway outside the meeting, STILL in plain sight of the teams involved. Take the fight back to an office, our out to the coffee shop, or for a walk around the building. Don’t further disrupt and distort your external appearance (and thus your team’s position in the project) by fighting in front of everyone.

Some of the keys to completing a project on time and within budget is to be sure that confidence is high, cooperation is free-flowing, and communication is up-to-the-second. Following some of the advice above falls into the “damage control” part of project management, but it’s just as important as knowing how to send a proper status email, and how to handle cost overruns. In fact, it’s often MORE important.

Advertising

Chris Brogan never argues with himself on projects at Grasshopper Factory , nor does he disagree with the team at [chrisbrogan.com]. He’s working with others to create PodCamp Boston for Sept 9-10th in Boston.

Advertising

Advertising

More by this author

7 Uses for a Virtual Machine When Emailing Think Press Release Mail, BrainDump, Mail, Do Stretch Goals Matter You Had me at Insane

Trending in Lifehack

1 How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone 2 Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them 3 How Setting Personal Goals Makes You a Greater Achiever 4 The Lifehack Show: Overcoming Anxiety Through Personal Agency with Dr. Paul Napper 5 The Lifehack Show: On Friendship and Belonging with Dr. Kyler Shumway

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 2, 2020

How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Over time, we all gather a set of constricting habits around us—ones that trap us in a zone of supposed comfort, well below what our potential would allow us to attain. Pretty soon, such habits slip below the level of our consciousness, but they still determine what we think that we can and cannot do—and what we cannot even bring ourselves to try. As long as you let these habits rule you, you’ll be stuck in a rut.

Like the tiny, soft bodied creatures that build coral reefs, habits start off small and flexible, and end up by building massive barriers of rock all around your mind. Inside the reefs, the water feels quiet and friendly. Outside, you think it’s going to be rough and stormy. There may be sharks. But if you’re to develop in any direction from where you are today, you must go outside that reef of habits that marks the boundaries of your comfort zone. There’s no other way. There’s even nothing specially wrong with those habits as such. They probably worked for you in the past.

But now, it’s time to step over them and go into the wider world of your unused potential. Your fears don’t know what’s going to be out there, so they invent monsters and scary beasts to keep you inside.

Nobody’s born with an instruction manual for life. Despite all the helpful advice from parents, teachers and elders, each of us must make our own way in the world, doing the best we can and quite often getting things wrong.

Messing up a few times isn’t that big a deal. But if you get scared and try to avoid all mistakes by sticking with just a few “tried and true” behaviors, you’ll miss out on most opportunities as well.

Advertising

Lots of people who suffer from boredom at work are doing it to themselves. They’re bored and frustrated because that’s what their choices have caused them to be. They’re stuck in ruts they’ve dug for themselves while trying to avoid making mistakes and taking risks. People who never make mistakes never make anything else either.

It’s time to pin down the habits that have become unconscious and are running your life for you, and get rid of them. Here’s how to do it:

1. Understand the Truth about Your Habits

They always represent past successes. You have formed habitual, automatic behaviors because you once dealt with something successfully, tried the same response next time, and found it worked again. That’s how habits grow and why they feel so useful.

To get away from what’s causing your unhappiness and workplace blues, you must give up on many of your most fondly held (and formerly successful) habits. and try new ways of thinking and acting. There truly isn’t any alternative. Those habits are going to block you from finding new and creative ideas. No new ideas, no learning. No learning, no access to successful change.

2. Do Something—Almost Anything—Differently and See What Happens

Even the most successful habits eventually lose their usefulness as events change the world and fresh responses are called for. Yet we cling on to them long after their benefit has gone.

Advertising

Past strategies are bound to fail sometime. Letting them become automatic habits that take the controls is a sure road to self-inflicted harm.

3. Take Some Time out and Have a Detailed Look at Yourself—With No Holds Barred

Discovering your unconscious habits can be tough. For a start, they’re unconscious, right? Then they fight back.

Ask anyone who has ever given up smoking if habits are tough to break. You’ve got used to them—and they’re at least as addictive as nicotine or crack cocaine.

4. Be Who You Are

It’s easy to assume that you always have to fit in to get on in the world; that you must conform to be liked and respected by others or face exclusion. Because most people want to please, they try to become what they believe others expect, even if it means forcing themselves to be the kind of person they aren’t, deep down.

You need to start by putting yourself first. You’re unique. We’re all unique, so saying this doesn’t suggest that you’re better than others or deserve more than they do.

Advertising

You need to put yourself first because no one else has as much interest in your life as you do; and because if you don’t, no one else will. Putting others second means giving them their due respect, not ignoring them totally.

Keeping up a self-image can be a burden. Hanging on to an inflated, unrealistic one is a curse. Give yourself a break.

5. Slow Down and Let Go

Most of us want to think of ourselves as good, kind, intelligent and caring people. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it isn’t.

Reality is complex. We can’t function at all without constant input and support from other people.

Everything we have, everything we’ve learned, came to us through someone else’s hands. At our best, we pass on this borrowed existence to others, enhanced by our contribution. At our worst, we waste and squander it.

Advertising

So recognize that you’re a rich mixture of thoughts and feelings that come and go, some useful, some not. There’s no need to keep up a façade; no need to pretend; no need to fear of what you know to be true.

When you face your own truth, you’ll find it’s an enormous relief. If you’re maybe not as wonderful as you’d like to be, you aren’t nearly as bad as you fear either.

The truth really does set you free; free to work on being better and to forgive yourself for being human; free to express your gratitude to others and recognize what you owe them; free to acknowledge your feelings without letting them dominate your life. Above all, you’ll be free to understand the truth of living: that much of what happens to you is no more than chance. It can’t be avoided and is not your fault. There’s no point in beating yourself up about it.

Final Thoughts

What is holding you in situations and actions that no longer work for you often isn’t inertia or procrastination. It’s the power of habitual ways of seeing the world and thinking about events. Until you can let go of those old, worn-out habits, they’ll continue to hold you prisoner.

To stay in your comfort zone through mere habit, or—worse still—to stay there because of irrational fears of what may lie outside, will condemn you to a life of frustration and regret.

If you can accept the truth about the world and yourself, change whatever is holding you back, and get on with a fresh view on life, you’ll find that single action lets you open the door of your self-imposed prison and walk free. There’s a marvelous world out there. You’ll see, if you try it!

More About Stepping Out of Comfort Zone

Featured photo credit: teigan rodger via unsplash.com

Read Next