Overpowering Friction

Personal leadership opportunities at times present more friction points than progress. Overcoming friction though has the capacity to present opportunities when unexpected leadership challenges occur as solutions to difficult problem sets are found. Coming from an armed forces background, I have experienced first hand the complexities of military operations and am cognizant that every opportunity has the capacity to present friction that will impede progress. Currently as I pursue my leadership opportunity to change the way organizations repurpose their physical assets and influence the mechanisms in which they use to report on their repurposing activities, I realize friction is not only limited to the battlefield and there is always going to unforeseen aspects of situations that have the capacity to disrupt our meticulously planned strategies.

As managing friction serves as part of the tasks that enable the success of an organization, developing a methodology to address and overcome the unexpected is crucial. From experience, I have learned that dealing with friction doesn’t entail generating more comprehensive plans that attempt to address every possible issue that could go wrong. When individuals get buried in a plan’s details, they often end up not making timely progress and prematurely giving up. A plan just needs to possess the capacity to provide direction; additionally, implementing communication protocols within an organization that ensure employees understand their place in the overall corporate strategy will facilitate plans to not crumble when they confront unpredictable situations, as the outcomes of plans most often don’t result in the envisioned end state. I’m sure the desired CSR platform that I’m striving to assist in creating will have an outcome that is different then what is currently imagined. To ensure our entire workforce comprehends and is aligned with our leadership’s intent for developing our platform, effective communication is paramount to making sure corporate priorities are consistently considered and employees are best armed to make decisions as friction occurs.

Additionally, the workforce must deliver feedback that enables company leadership to understand what friction points they may be facing. With the appropriate communication mechanisms in place friction can be addressed in an adaptive manner as it arises. I have learned each person in an organization can play a vital role in addressing friction points which are ultimately inevitable. As friction is encountered, I recommend the following to circumvent the unanticipated through making the appropriate mental shifts to overcome whatever challenge you or your organization may be presented with.

1. Communication: Ensure your organization’s desired end state is clear and well understood amongst all employees, as well as provide reasons why the organization is moving toward a specific outcome.

2. Timeline: Set a definitive time frame for reducing encountered friction points, this will foster a sense of urgency toward overcoming a specific problem set.

3. Synchronization: Ensure the method in which friction points are addressed takes into consideration corporate beliefs, values, and priorities. This will help in aligning employees to work together and take the appropriate action to address complex issues as they arise.

4. Think about Impact: Addressing friction points swiftly could potentially have negative future effects or impact others in an unintended manner. The last thing anyone wants when attempting to address friction is a more complicated problem; therefore, it is pertinent to think solutions through and consider how to best minimize any harm potential resolutions may present.

5. Be Prepared: Reflect on what could potentially go wrong within your organization, as well as what external factors could adversely affect your business. Anticipating future scenarios will make your organization better prepared to deal with situations presenting friction.

6. Think outside the Box

As my personal leadership opportunity has recently offered multiple friction points I have successfully used the presented methods to overcome them. Every time friction is encountered it is a good opportunity for organizations to remind themselves of what is truly important, as well as what changes need to be made to limit future issues. Organizations are continuously evolving entities and need to be able to adapt to inconsistent and fluctuating conditions.

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