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Onramps and Offramps

Some days it feels like I'm directing traffic at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport with so many exciting projects underway and other days it feels like I'm climbing Mt. Everest while dragging my team kicking and screaming all the way.

Each working condition carries its own rewards and challenges. And, each can present roadblocks on your way to progress.

What I have discovered over the years, is that work and life in general is filled with onramps and offramps. The onramps are opportunities to participate, learn, grow and excel. The offramps are also opportunities to participate, learn, grow and excel. But, they can also be offramps to either slow down the activity or completely stop what you're doing.

Many times, people and organizational leaders take the latter approach. When staff grumble and complain about something new, the solution is to not take the onramp or to stop all activity on the new project all together.

It's important to get input from your team and make informed decisions about where your taking the organization, but I encourage leaders to push back a little. Don't be dissuaded from making progress because the work seems to0 hard or too much. Work through the natural inclination of some staff to reject anything "extra" in their job duties because they see it as "just another thing to do" on their list of job tasks.

Help them to see the bigger picture. Discuss how the new project or service will help the organization to serve more people or perhaps in a more impactful manner. Share with them how it might provide additional knowledge and training opportunities for them. Perhaps, the new project will make for smoother path towards financial growth or public awareness.

I have often been threatened by staff (in a joking matter) to be locked in a broom closet if I present one more new idea. At least I hope they were joking.

Anyway, our discussions typically begin with the opportunities before us, as opposed to the "extra" work or tasks ahead. If you keep your eyes pointed towards opportunities on the path, even those that lead to an offramp from the norm, then you and your team will surely grow from the experience.

And, if not, just keep your cell phone handy in case you need to someone to come rescue you from the broom closet.

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