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Walkthrough Wednesdays

Stifling expectations.

Cisco Employee

I am a performing classical musician as well as a technologist and I have very high standards for performance.  I recognize that these standards which have evolved over decades of experience have two distinct effects.

1. they assure me of my own level of performance..

2. they severely limit the level of interaction I have with many younger colleagues.  

Strangely, the second one is exactly the opposite of how I would like my experience to be used and the first actually inhibits my creativity and exploration by limiting my influences to my own insular thinking models.  At my core, I am someone who inspires and is inspired by others. If I am cutting them off rather than sharing with them, I can neither share my experience nor learn from their unique and special perspectives on the world.

In business this sort of environment is deadly for leadership, staff development and team performance and of course company performance.

We must solve problems quickly, efficiently... cheaply... and the stark reality is that noone person knows all of the answers.  If we "expect" everyone around us to be us, act like us, know what we know.. then we are not collaborating or working as a team.. we are simply job sharing.  This is neither efficient or inspiring whenever the tasks become relationship oriented and complex.. as so many do.

I regularly spend time considering my strengths, and actually writing down areas where I need to improve. For interactions with colleagues, we should do the same... with one caveat.. I believe we should focus on how they are different from us and what that means for our decision cycles and work processes.. rather than... Are they as good, can they do what I do... etc..  If we are able to avoid stifling expectations, perhaps collaboration and its associated value can be realized more quickly...

When people collaborate with discipline, problems are solved better, faster, and cheaper.. Thats a fact jack! 

Perhaps our relationships must be placed before our opportunities.

At a minimum, we as performers and leaders should be distinctly aware of our perspectives and constantly reminded of the need for disciplined collaboration as a key to success in an amazingly fast paced, changing world.

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