Our paradigms are the beliefs about how our world works and ultimately guides our actions. As Andrew Bernstein points out in The Myth of Stress, “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we believe them to be.” Thus, if we can change or alter our paradigm to better integrate into our environment, we will achieve greater results than if we do not. And there are times when we have to throw ourselves into the humility of not knowing in order to adapt to a given situation and it’s paradigm. Flexibility is key here. If we can let go and dance with the systems we integrate with, we increase our potential for success and happiness.
The second major set of leverage points are interactions. If we can know what interactions directly and indirectly affect us or our ability to meet our objective, we have a better understanding of what to focus our efforts on. These leverage points are extremely valuable in the strategic planning to bring about our vision. It is useful to understand the emergent and manageable interactions, the nodes, within and around us. There are those interactions which have a direct impact to our state of mind or our actions. These we must pay attention to or they begin to guide us in ways we do not intend. It is through our interactions we obtain feedback which is critical to the continual refinement and adaptation of our actions to achieve our goals. With feedback we can balance our internal and external systems to achieve the mental and physical states we seek. We can also reinforce either positively or negatively in order to drive change towards our purposes.
A good example of this type of leverage point is our work environment. There are times our direct supervisor has less of an impact on our ability to do our job than another person we work with. Take for instance a coffee shop with multiple baristas. When things get busy and one person works the cash register. If the cash register person does not communicate well to the barista the customer will likely not get their order right. When customer satisfaction starts to deteriorate, the day can get difficult for all involved. The interaction between the cash register person and the barista has more of an impact on enjoying the work day than making sure the supervisor in the back is happy. If the supervisor is the cash register person then the focus on that interaction can impact both the relationship with the supervisor as well as making the work day easier and more fun. Politics in the workplace is another example. Those with power over our jobs may not be the one who signs our time sheet.
Interacting with others to integrate our purposes serves all involved.
On Wednesday, I’ll talk about the third set of leverage points that can help us manage our daily business.