If people are so individual, how can we be plugged into uniform processes and expected to thrive?
Each person has unique life circumstances, yet we go through similar routines and even share sentiments. We all know what day of the week it is and if it is the weekend. Stores have hours and you can only shop there on their terms. You might hop to your own beat, but you still enjoy sleeping at night and waking up in the morning. Whether you eat vegan, paleo, keto or inclusively, you still take care of your hunger.
So, as a project manager, I have many theories about what succeeds and what fails.
Based on my albeit limited life experience, I have noticed that we humans like to feel good and accomplished. Each person may define accomplishment differently. For some, its overcoming the hurdle of going from horizontal to vertical as they get out of bed. For others, it may be positively dealing with the people around them.
And for most, it's probably a combination of internal and external struggles, which they can push through and feel rewarded. Of course, in order to push through and to achieve success, we all need some sort of guidance.
But first we must define success. What is it exactly?
The other day, I held a marathon baking session for an upcoming family event. I was given a few recipes, all the ingredients, and the rest was up to me. I followed the instructions on the recipes, some more detailed than others, and before I knew it, I was treated with the sweet aroma of fresh baked goods. Taking one look at the oven, I realized that I was successful in my endeavor. I took the raw items and by staying focused and sticking to the words on the page, I transformed the mixture into something delicious. I got the expected result and it felt good.
Baking is usually a clear process, which individuals might tweak or hack in their own ways, but that can ultimately be done by anyone willing to follow the defined steps towards accomplishing the goal. Even with the goal achieved, some people might do a bit more to add their special touch, such as using the frosting to make an interesting and unique design on top of the cake. Or the extra can be in the delivery, like serving the cake on a beautiful platter or cutting up the cake into pretty cupcake holders. There are many ways to take a recipe, use it, and then add our own uniqueness. In this way, we are both creative and process-oriented and ensure a tasty and beautiful outcome.
Variety Makes for Tastier Outcomes
Another aspect of baking is the combination of a variety of ingredients, solids, and liquids which join together to create the final product. The same thing happens with people’s efforts on a team project. Each person puts in their contribution in a set amount, making sure to keep the right balance for the desired outcome. Some people might need to submit more hours or work on the deliverable which will more visible, while others take care of the binding or the foundation items, which are equally crucial, but less visible. Either way, having the plan and defining each role allows the individual to happily give as needed and to feel satisfied with their contribution.
Now you might be thinking, “that's great when everyone works as a team, but for me, I’m a one-person operation. I have my own specialty and I don’t like to mix with others.” So that is another approach to collaboration and process. You can still offer your unique deliverable as long as it fits into the puzzle of the rest of the team.
Imagine a huge painting of a beach. You might be in charge of the blue ocean and you should make sure that you keep to the blue color pallet. However, you still need to be in communication and respect the boundaries of where your paint should end, just as much as the person in charge of the sand should acknowledge where his/her territory ends. Should there be a gap on the canvas or too much overlap, the image won’t look nice. Once the painting is complete, outsiders can appreciate how each color enhances the full picture. By maintaining roles, individuals have more room to shine.
Your Unique Recipe
Clear process is a recipe for success. Sticking to what is expected on an individual level shows that you are capable and uniquely valuable. The satisfaction of that success will give you strength and motivation to overcome the aspects of life that are less clear cut and before you know it, you’ll be able to contribute in more and more sweet and beautiful ways.
As Project Manager at Tribe Creative, Chedva is happy to share her knowledge in all parts of the process as well as her creative thinking which has brought her this far. She is currently living in Ramat Beit Shemesh with her family of five, trying to find joy in the routine and creating positive memories when there is a change of plan.