Predictable and Connected

“What’s the matter?”

Has anyone ever surprised you with that question?  Has anyone ever asked you that when you didn’t even consciously think anything was the matter….but once confronted with the question you realized that something was kind of bothering you?

I believe humans are emotionally in tune with one another in ways that they do not fully appreciate or recognize.

Much of our individual lives are built around our routines. Think about that for a second.  Do you go to lunch at the same time every day like me?  Perhaps it’s an afternoon snack, a particular time you have your alarm set to wake you in the morning, maybe it’s a call to a family member on the drive home each day.

There’s probably any number of things you do routinely.

Have you ever thought about the effect that YOUR routine has on the routines of the people around you?

Take work for example.  Have you ever thought to yourself….”oh shoot, Cheryl is off tomorrow” and realized that tomorrow is going to be different (maybe harder) than when Cheryl is working?

Of course you have.  I think that’s a relatively universal experience.  But why is that the case?  I think it’s because our routines are predictable, have consequences, and are inter-connected in a way that we are not fully aware of on most days.

We know that any day that Cheryl is off is going to be a harder day because she is such an important piece of your organization.  But maybe we are not fully aware that on those days when Cheryl is off we get to talk to Bob about our favorite TV show more thoroughly.  Cheryl thinks TV is a waste of time….and that has an impact on the group communication dynamic.  When Bob is off the office has a looser feel to it.  Bob is a very serious man, not unpleasant, but very focused.  Everyone either consciously or unconsciously acknowledges that by keeping the tone a little more serious.  But Cheryl, on the other hand, has a laugh you can hear from one end of the office to the other.

So these characters are all made up, of course.  But do the interconnected behavioral dynamics have a familiar ring to them?  Are you thinking about how your co-workers, friends and family all have unique, predictable behaviors that have consequences for the people around them?  I’ll bet you can think of quite a few right off the top of your head!

Now….put yourself under that same microscope.  

What are YOUR predictable behaviors that have consequences for the people around you?

To be clear, I’m not talking about intentional behavior or a technique of some sort used by a leader to drive some result.  That’s a manipulation….a legitimate and useful one, but a manipulation none the less.  What I’m talking about is a function of personality and authenticity…..simply being yourself, your persona….and the impact it has on your group dynamic.

I’m reminded of the ripple effect you get by dropping a stone in still water.  But instead of just the ripples from YOUR stone…there is a sea of ripples coming from many stones.

You ARE having an impact on the other humans in your environment.  In my opinion, it is a serious impact whether you are consciously aware of it or not.

So…step #1 is recognizing the truth of this discovery.  Step #2 is forming a judgment on what KIND of impact you are having.  Step #3 is deciding whether that impact is the kind of impact you ASPIRE to have on the other humans around you.

If we’re honest it’s probably a mixed bag.

So hey….”What’s the matter?”


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6 Replies to “Predictable and Connected”

  1. There are 2 thoughts going on here. Both equally important, but separate. One, is the clear personal connection with you have: intentionally or not with those around you. Their ability to pick up your ‘offness’ if you will. It is important because at times, we don’t as humans realize how tired, strung up or anxious we are. It isn’t until others point it out that we really stop to realize or analyze where we are.

    But second, you speak of importance of how your ‘persona’ or attitude affects those around you. This is a very different and much more controlled perception. You ‘fake it til’ you make it’. As a leader, Cheryl or not–have the responsibility to put on the best face.

    There were times when I felt I wasn’t making the right decisions, and I couldn’t say what was going on in your life or world but you always made me feel capable and powerful to make decisions. When I was asked in my last job who was my inspiration or mentor I said Ken Catmull.
    I said that because when I made a ‘wrong decision’ you stopped me but explained and frankly, made me work through why it was wrong. I learned. A lot. And when I made a good decision, you were on board and encouraging.

    So, in short(or long) there are 2 thoughts here. While we do have routine, it means those who know us best do see us out of sorts–and that’s ok–it’s even a great thing, it is what makes humans-humans.

    The second thought is having a positive and admirable attitude, which doesn’t mean you don’t have bad days—it just means you encourage others.

  2. Thank you for the kind words, Jenny. For what it’s worth I’ve always thought that your greatest asset is your open mind. It serves you well.

    And your thoughts on routine and attitude are interesting to me. I’m a big believer in the power of BOTH those things. And now, I have new topics to write about!

    Good to hear from you. Keep it coming.

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