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I probably should have called this “I can’t see the wood for trees” it’s that kind of quote/cliche I was thinking of when I put the wheels in motion for this article.

Reflecting (as one does from time to time) on the way things have happened for me in a number of positions of employ, one in particular comes to mind, let me explain.

Untitled © Peter Biram 2009

In the interview the view seemed clear, my mind has mapped out a course of action right from the get go… But when I get into the role, things somehow magically alter, the view has changed, the map becomes useless and things do not appear as they once were.

What happened? Sometimes I am not so sure, but in reflection from a role about six years back I can see what happened there. The role looked straight forward but on the inside the complexity was a bit much, information overload took place and detail-itis kicked in, people were throwing in all sorts of information into a vacuous space (the memory space allocated for my brain to handle this role.) and it was fast getting cluttered with “STUFF!”

My view on reflection was I could have done better by getting a better map or at least orienting the map to face the right way when I got into the role, and sorting out the basics in a better way to begin with.

The role was in a training organisation and as a 12 month contract my job was to set up new programs and look after a small handful of courses already running. It seemed simple enough but the points outlined above gave it an air of despair.

For each course currently running I should have had an outline of what subjects were being presented, what ones had already been covered, and what was coming up, followed by what I was going to do to make the upcoming parts easy for the Trainers, fail on all counts.

I wanted to go in and check out what the trainers were doing, how they presented, were they engaging, were they providing a rich and interesting environment for the participants and were the participants happy, fail on all counts…

I conjured up a range of new course ideas and ways the organisation would be able to make money out of professional development programs for businesses… A few great ideas were beginning to take shape when a new manager was appointed in a higher role and the eye cast on my plans sent a shiver, there was no money going to be allocated to some of the new programs I had in mind “These plans are all very well Steve, but we don’t have the money or resources to run them.” that was it, despite my evidence to the opposite.

My map turned to mud, my strengths to weaknesses and before long the whole thing became a sham. I had no idea of the view and what it should be like anymore and was somehow glad when the contract came to an end… The tables had turned and what I was hired for became a farce. Funny though just after I left the new Manager was sidelined and things went into some sort of a rejigging spin with the aim of getting the organisation back onto a level keel.

Twelve months wasted? Not really there were a number of small wins and “pats on the back” but the big thing is learning from it all. The aim being not to make the same mistakes. I can blame the organisation for being unclear, I can blame the manager for poor insight and limited vision, but in the end the real results came down to me.

Looking forward was part of the role, looking back was important too, but the here and now of the existing course operation probably may have yielded greater results in the long term. In reality who knows if it would have or not… I can only believe in myself it would have made a difference.

May I suggest you take a look at what’s happening in your business or department now and explore the map in detail and see if all parties on the “Island” are able to read the map and know what to do if they get lost. Otherwise the map may well be useless.

Steve Gray - Steve is a business educator - Trainer - Speaker (Steve Gray.biz). You can get his Leadership E Book from http://theleadershipguy.com.au The info provided in these articles is for educational purposes only and is intended as a starting point for you to build your business from, not as specific advice.
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