There has been much written this past week about the chaos in the White House.
Chaos provides distraction and noise, which gets people off topic and task.
This is not immune to the White House, however, as chaos is prevalent both in business and at home.
In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey outlined the time management matrix. The matrix was made up of quadrants which broke activities down as being important/urgent, not urgent/important, not important/urgent, and not important/not urgent.
The important/urgent quadrant is where the chaos and crisis occurs. It is marked by pressing problems and deadlines, and is the place where things must get done. It is marked by immediacy, and while it may be sometimes be inevitable, it is a place that we should avoid whenever possible.
Instead, Mr. Covey said that we should spend the majority of our time in the important/not urgent quadrant.
This is the area where we plan, look to prevent, and build relationships. It is where we are proactive, and if done right, prevents the chaos from occurring.
Dr. Wayne Dyer said that, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
To help us deal with and take control of the chaos around us, we can begin to look at it in the following context:
Commitment – This is where we make the effort to make things better. Too often leaders put band-aids on problems because they realize the effort that is needed to fix them. We must commit to the effort in making long lasting change.
Honesty – Honesty is required for us to admit there’s a problem, and what that problem is. We must also be honest with ourselves with the role that our leadership (or lack thereof) plays in the chaos that exists around us.
Articulation – As leaders, we must ask ourselves if we have properly articulated our vision, mission, and expectations to those around us. If so, do they understand them?
Organization – Does your organization have clearly defined roles and responsibilities? While we may strive for a sense of autonomy to do our job, it is important to know what that job is and how it fits into the overall hierarchy of our organization. If there’s a problem, do your people know the is proper person to report it to?
Source and Solutions – Once we know what the source of the problems around us are, we must come up with a game plan to address them. Sometimes the solution may involve the hiring and/or firing of personnel. Other times, it may involve new policies or procedures. To make effective change, however, you must clear on the source of the problem and the resulting solutions will be ineffective.
Whether it be at your business, the White House, or your own house, we can eliminate the chaos around us with a few simple steps if we are willing to make an effort to do so.