Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. – Rumi
Management has to be one of the most pointless activities out there.
Who would willingly become a manager?
Become someone who has to watch others doing work and try and get the best out of them?
After all, managing oneself is hard enough without being responsible for other people.
One of the worst ideas in management is that you can’t manage what you can’t measure.
Think of something – anything that is good in the world.
How many of them were “managed” into existence?
Trees? Animals? Your family? Art? Books? Jeans?
A seed doesn’t need to be managed into existence.
You don’t need to measure and report key performance indicators.
Given the right conditions it just grows.
Wouldn’t you rather find the right person that wants to do work you need to get done and let them get on with doing a good job?
Wouldn’t that be preferable to managing them?
Thinking of life or business like gardening rather than managing may be a good idea.
Your job becomes one of planting seeds and nurturing them, protecting them and letting them grow.
Or, if you’re trying to change, your job is to find the right seed – the right behaviour, approach or strategy that will make a difference.
Then you need to make it ridiculously easy to do – you need to think small.
Big things are too big to keep in your head – too big to fight.
It’s too easy to give up when you have a big challenge.
Like running a marathon when you haven’t jogged in twenty years.
You need to start with something smaller – like walking every day.
And when you change you’re going to fail or not see results as fast as you want.
You could say, “I’ve been training for two weeks but I’m not getting any faster.”
Using the word but stops you in your tracks.
There’s nowhere to go from there.
Or you could say, “I’ve been training for two weeks and I’m not getting any faster.”
Using the word “and” seems unfinished. It feels like the word “yet” is missing from the end of that sentence.
You aren’t faster yet.
But you will be.
As long as you keep showing up.
Thinking is hard work – if you want to change something you have to make it automatic, something you do without thinking.
And the easiest way to do that is put it on a schedule.
If you want to get fit, get your exercise times in the diary.
If you want to create art or write – set time aside every day to do it whether you feel like it or not.
Deadlines are just pressure – they don’t help.
Showing up is what matters.
And then, if you’re trying to change something there is always the risk of sliding back to your old ways.
And it’s easy to do this when you come across an old trigger – something that prompts you to do what you used to do.
For example, if you go shopping hungry you know you’re going to buy some chocolate.
So, watch out – and avoid being in that situation.
Then there are bright line rules – things that are very clear, where there is a yes or no answer.
These are good.
The classic here is dry January – where people decide not to drink all month after the merriment of the month before.
It might not last – but it’s a pretty clear rule.
The thing with change is it’s hard – really hard.
And there isn’t a way to do it without some pain and effort.
But there are ways to make it easier to change something – whether it’s a habit or a process.
But to make it last you need to do it in a way so it doesn’t need ongoing management – so it manages itself.
Because anything that needs to be managed will stop working as soon as that manager stops paying attention.