Friday, July 12, 2013

Love what you Do?

I love fishing. And when I say this, different people understand it differently. Most assume I like to drink beer by a pier while reading a book. Some may think I like to go to the lake and spend some time in a boat. Others imagine I catch a lot of fish and cook them. But my friends that do go fishing usually ask a few more questions. Like, are you a cat or a bass man? Do you fly or bait cast? Have you tried noodling? These guys know that there is more to fishing than just what people imagine there is. And these guys know there is a huge difference between fishing and catching! More on that later…

When you go “fishing”, what you do and what you enjoy doing can take a different form than what you are expecting. A fishing trip with friends is different than a fishing trip with your kids; this in turn is different than a fishing trip with a GROUP of kids! Then, there is fishing alone. Each of these requires a different set of expectations from you in order for you to have a good time, because each will present it’s challenges differently. If you are not aware of the differences, you are plain setting yourself up for frustration and anger.

One of the things I do NOT enjoy about fishing is equipment maintenance – or finding the lack thereof. Nothing is quite as frustrating as losing a fish at the last minute, or losing a lure, or getting a bird’s nest tangle, or getting multiple tangles. These kinds of activities can take the fun out of almost any day. Especially when you have to repeat them over and over again. If you do not take care of your reels, you can expect a lot of tangles! An experienced angler can actually overcome these issues, but at a cost. Losing a lure or a fish can usually be frustrating, but if you are wise, you can replace these parts or experiences. But the tangles – these are completely the angler’s fault. And they stink. In short, no one I know goes fishing to undo tangles! Even though I know a few guys that do enjoy tying knots.

When I go to work, it is something I enjoy. I wrote about the short and long game on our last post, and in point of fact I excel at the crisis type management. I don’t like it, in fact I tend to see things through the long game at all times. But I am really good at helping teams overcome the improbable or the plain crazy. Either way, I truly enjoy helping teams. I am a coach at heart, and when I am in my zone, it is a thing to behold. Every once in a while, an organization will hire a resource just because they can. Then, what they interviewed for turns out to be completely different than what they needed or wanted. In those cases, both the organization and the coach can rapidly become very frustrated. Because the relationship is set up to fail.

I am not really sure how to handle when this happens, although I know I have a high sense of integrity and independence. I tend to be very confident and do not flinch at moving to a situation where I can be helpful. When I work with an organization that oversold the role, and realize that they only needed a small part of the skillset I bring, the first thing I try to do is talking through the need and the expectations. Sadly, some organizations have too much money and not enough sense. They lack vision, or leadership, or both. When I am in these situations, it certainly feels like I am undoing tangles.

When I cause these tangles, I get it. I own the mistake. When the team causes a tangle, similarly I jump in and help them undo their mistake. But when the organization only has broken or unmaintained reels, it becomes frustrating that ALL they have for you is tangles. When they project this at the coach, and take no responsibility for the environment and culture they have cultivated – well, then we all know we are not fishing anymore! And at this time, well, we all have to take a stand on what we want to be able to do.

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