Is so obvious, it’s often overlooked.
Elephant has 30 staff, now. Or 20. Somewhere in there. That’s awesome. Or, it sounds awesome. It sounds like I have lots of help—historically, I was all alone, working away, night and day. Yes, I had Lindsey to help—thank god—and a few others, mostly great editors. But for years it was just little ol’ me, driving the bus.
But, surprisingly, having 20 or 30 staff isn’t that helpful. I mean, it is—but it’s nearly as much work. And the work is, often, less fun—it’s less about doing and more about wondering why others haven’t done it quickly enough or well enough or at all. Instead of being an inspired, tired entrepreneur, I’m an old, tired Manager in a bureaucracy of my own making. What monster hath we wrought!?
The key to all of this is one thing. Well, two things, that are the same thing.
Number one. Communicate. “Have confidence to go beyond hesitation.” I want to hear from you when things are confusing, or difficult. That’s when communication is least offered, and most vital. This is equally important in relationships and business. If you don’t communicate when things are confusing, folks fall into blame, get distant, rancorous, and nothing productive or fun gets done. The pipes block up, and the love and magic stop flowing.
Number two. Once clear communication has happened (if it’s not clear, keep communicating, take blame, focus on the solution instead of blame), seal the conversation by drawing actionable conclusions. In order to solve this and stop it from reoccuring constantly, let’s always do this or that.
Seems simple, right? It is. And yet we don’t do it. We have long difficult vague conversations without 1) actually talking about the problem, and solutions, and 2) without mutually agreed-upon conclusive action.
Today, our new Elephant Market and I got into a big fight. Basically, the good folks helping me out with the Market were all frustrated, or defensive, or vaguely talking around obvious problems without seeking conclusions out of fear of calling out their colleagues—and nothing was getting fixed. I got mad, in a kinda good way. I say kinda good, because it was without blame, but with fire—the kind of fire you feel when you’ve had a great run or cup of coffee or a favorite song you haven’t heard for too long comes on the radio. The bad kind of fire involves blame, free from solutions or the taking of responsibility. My colleagues were failing to do what they said they’d do. They were failing to communicate with one another. They were defensive. And that was no fun for any of us—we weren’t getting things done. But that’s okay—in elephant, our work is our spiritual path of waking up. So we woke up. Tomorrow, I’ll be the one effing up, and they’ll have to wake me up, and I’ll take the blame—I do eff up a lot—and thank them for lending me their compassionate awareness.
Yesterday, my ladypal and I talked for 5 hours straight (with a little love in there). It helped. We went from a little distant over the last few weeks, with a little unresolved blame or distance or anxiety in there—to warm, soft, tender, fun again.
I love this stuff. Give #1 and #2 a go.
Yours in the vision of Enlightened Society,