I had a chat with my daughter today, over Sunday Lunch, about the business of structure and growth within an organisation of any size.
It was a brief but to the point description, less conversation more life lesson, about what is needed for sustainable management of resource, within any group. Bear in mind, the chief resource of any venture or organisation, is always the people who – whether initiators, heads of departments, project managers, or connected staff and others within the ambit of the ‘body’ – have specific roles to play. We touched on the subject of creativity within the management of a team, a project, or a role, and this brought up the immediate need to focus on structure as the outright priority, before all else can be given free reign (or reins).
In any business, as even in family life, there are a number of key areas where expertise, skill, strength, insight, foresight, adaptability, linking of resource material, knowledge, inititiave and emotional intelligence are required. Key to the smooth running is the importance of putting the right person into the right role, always ensuring and maintaining follow-up and result.
Very often in an organisation that is small, the person at the ‘top’ has to wear the many hats required for the smooth running of the entity, but this does not ensure long range success, as it can be the fast route to burn-out. What is far preferable is, if and where possible, to delegate roles, responsibility and tasks to competent others, who can and will ensure that the jobs assigned are carried out to the best advantage of everyone in the group. The most sustainable way to approach the tackling of any project, is to seek to put in place the competent others who can do the jobs assigned with greater ease than anyone else can.
It makes the utmost sense, whatever the size of the business, people group, organisation to seek the simplest route to success, which will take the least amount of energy and outlay to achieve – in the long run. It might be necessary, for example, to pay more to ’employ’ someone who has the necessary natural ability, talent, resources and foresight to achieve a task that we would otherwise take longer to accomplish, or would obstruct our progress and use up precious resources in the process of making mistakes, relearning, fixing tasks that might otherwise have been done in half the time.
The absolute key to growth of any kind, is the creation of foundation first and then to build structure. Without a clear and solid foundation, one cannot build up very high and, without structure, there is no viable means to contain and direct the growth. Boundaries matter enormously, and boundaries are only possible to manage effectively once there are foundations and clear structure in place.
We can learn a lot from nature about how best to run life … in an ordered way … and we can learn from the professions of architecture, engineering and construction as well, about how best to do so. Each of these requires design, discipline, adhering to certain fundamental rules, and a measure of creativity to make the entity ‘great’. Creativity without boundaries, structure, foundation, becomes pure chaos … it might delight for a while, but in the long run there will be fallout and potentially an enormous amount of damage of all kinds as well.
When we think of trees that thrive, we see that their roots are in the right soil, the nutrients and moisture levels are appropriate for their species, the conditions around them (environment) are optimal, and there is ample space and light to grow. A tree that has its roots contained becomes a ‘bonsai’; a tree that has its head chopped off repeatedly is ‘deformed’. We might like the way the tree has been brought into submission, but there is no argument with the fact that the tree is not growing according to its natural design and, therefore, might not be in a fit condition to contribute some of its important natural qualities to the life and the species around it. This is a good analogy for how we might look at life, people, and any organisation as well.
With the foundation in place, the structure sound, roles and boundaries defined, creativity becomes free and the imagination given the space it needs to soar, in order to bring ‘home’ the treasure and greater nutrients for the ‘body’ that it serves. When a body, a business, a people group, a corporate entity, a charity, a family, a school of any sort is designed and managed according to principles of sound health, freedom within boundaries, and putting the ‘right person in the right job at the right time’, we find that we have sustainability. Furthermore, flow becomes the more usual norm. As a result of flow, the people within the organisation, as well as its sphere of influence, are able to thrive within its core value structure and its orbit of good health.
Every body – personal, natural, business, family, spiritual or otherwise – is made stronger by the awareness of principles of life and simplicity in carrying them out. This ought always to be the focus of the heads of any group and always taken into account during the delegation of role or of task.
It is sometimes necessary to take the long route to end up with the quickest and best result, but never is it sustainable to build any structure without core design principles in place and the end firmly in mind in order to achieve them.
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