Sometimes you think you’ve been through a journey already and it will be old hat the next time you hit the same road. You know where the curves in the road are, you know when to slow down for the intersections, you know the sections of road that will be smooth sailing and you can drift along with your radio on and your cruise control set.
And then you get out on the road, and they’ve changed the landscape. There’s construction on the road that you didn’t expect. There’s a new mega-highway that’s moving faster than you’ve driven before. There are potholes (and rickshaws, to go along with the image above) that weren’t there before and somebody straightened your favourite curve.
I’ve been in management for thirteen years now. You’d think I’d know this journey inside out. You’d think I’d know when to anticipate the curves and bumps and rickshaws.
But they keep changing the road map. The speed picks up when you don’t expect it. There are new curves in the road. And the passengers in the car? Well, they’re never the same and the universal truth about people is that they’re all so very unique and different. Each one adds a new dimension to the journey. Some of them get a little ornery and want to ride on top of the bus for a better view of the scenery!
I’ve got more passengers (or co-pilots?) in the car then I’ve ever had before. (Not quite as many as the photo would suggest, but sometimes it feels like it.) I’ve got a bigger budget to manage than ever. I’ve got a faster moving car and a tighter timeframe to reach my destination. The demands are great and the expectations are greater. Some days I feel just like that bus driver must feel – dodging rickshaws and trying not to lose any of the passengers on the top.
Lately I’ve had a few new positions added to the team, and each of those positions has carved off a piece of the work that I normally do. That means I get to delegate more, but it also means I have to let go of some of the fun stuff I like to do. It also means that I’ll be held accountable for more people’s mistakes if I don’t give them clear direction and ample support.
I’ve come to a new intersection and sometimes I wonder if I’ve got everything I need to drive through it. The right road map? Enough gas in my tank? A clear destination? The right skills to navigate new territory?
It’s not hard to get caught up in daydreaming about just getting off the road. Or going back to the familiar, slower-moving roads that don’t stretch my capacity quite as much.
But that’s not in the game plan – at least not for now.
And… here’s the place where I try to wrap this post up in a neat little bow. If this were an expert blog, the next several paragraphs would be full of valuable advice about how to anticipate the curves and how to keep the people from falling off your bus (complete with bolded headings and ten easy steps). But it’s not an expert blog. It’s a blog written by a fumbler who’s trying to navigate the leadership journey without running over any poor rickshaw drivers along the way.
Just sharin’ my story in case you’ve been on a similar journey.
So… what’s changing in your landscape?