The Cure to Organizational Motion Sickness

Guest Post: Ashley Warren 

I recently had a unique opportunity to go on tour with a friend of mine who is an author and speaker. More specifically, to go on a BUS tour. 

It involved traveling to 8 cities over a 2-week course. Twelve people were living and working and sleeping and eating on a rolling bunkhouse. 

Now, I live in Nashville—Music City, USA—and can typically hang in conversations that contain terms like “bus call” and “day sheet” and “front of house,” but this was unlike anything I’d ever experienced.

I commented to my friend at one point: “This tour is a microcosm of microwaved culture.” I was enthralled. Because I love to study team dynamics, healthy engagement, and how leaders create a great culture, I couldn’t get enough!

Now, I usually wouldn’t say that you can microwave a healthy team culture. Culture requires patience, persistence, and a foundation of trust–all things that take time. That’s why I found this experience so fascinating. It was fast-moving and demanding work that could leave your head reeling and your stomach lurching.

So in asking the question: “Why does this work so well? How is this team being led, so they don’t end up motion sick?” I came away with two observations that I think will help ANY leader avoid giving your team motion sickness. The cure to organizational motion sickness is clarity.

1. Clarity provides a straight shot at the target.

You get motion sick when you’re going in circles. 

Not one of the team members on this tour had any confusion about whether or not the event had been successful each night. The reason for that is the vision was compelling, clear, and repeated regularly enough that no one had a chance to forget it. 

See, the guests wanted entertainment, and it mattered that the lines moved efficiently, but the overarching goal was for under-resourced kids around the world to get sponsored. And so that was the mark of success. You don’t get motion sick when you can see where you’re going.

Does your team know, specifically, what amounts to success for your organization?

2. Clarity lets you be fast AND flexible.

You get motion sick from speeding up, slowing down and swerving in and out of lanes. 

Each person on tour was a specialist in his or her role. Everyone knew the exact lane they needed to run in and the specific contribution they needed to make to achieve the goal of the event. 

The tour manager even distributed a list of who does what, so everyone knew not only what THEY were responsible for, they also knew what EVERYONE ELSE was responsible for, too. 

It allowed the team to move fast. You might think that this level of clarity would create a “Stay in Your Lane” culture of silos. Instead, it allowed them the flexibility to collaborate and offer help when others needed it. You don’t get motion sick when you’re moving forward at a steady rate.

What are you doing to anticipate and eliminate confusion for those you lead?

Clarity is one of the greatest gifts you can give those you lead. It will help you build a culture where your team has a sense of purpose and works efficiently and collaboratively. 

So, I’d encourage you to take some time to ask yourself the questions above, to honestly assess where there are points of confusion in your organization and fight to free your team from the dizzying headache of motion sickness by providing clarity.

Ashley Warren

4Sight Culture Consultant & Spcial Projects Leader

 

** Culture Matters  **

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Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.

Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning there is no additional cost to you, but I will earn a small commission if you use the links to make a purchase.