Organization is amazing. Everyone can most universally agree with that. I like things in order, looking beautiful, working efficiently…but what I really love even more, is organizing.
As crazy as it sounds, I love helping people clean up their garage or storage closets. I even tried it as a business once, but it didn’t really work out as I hoped. So I moved back into software, and found my love for organizing was still there, but digitally of course.
At any company I work for, I often find myself in my spare time taking all of the content, the files, the links, the passwords, etc. and putting them together in some beautiful way. Every time I do I feel I’ve created a masterpiece, only to later have my teammates tell me how to improve the space I just created out of thin air, and out of the goodness of my own heart. But I’m glad – keeps me humble and figuring out how people really think, especially people way different than me.
As I was thinking about organizing, I was kind of thinking, ‘Well, what’s the big deal? I mean, work still gets done even if I don’t clean up after and put stuff into little buckets, and spaces…’. Why does it matter? And then it came.
Organizing, in it’s very name, is just like it sounds – a team coming together, and doing something together. If you don’t organize, you’re quite simply working alone.
Have you ever had a roommate that had a pile of junk in their room, but they knew where everything was in that pile of junk?
“Brah, it’s right over there, under the pile of clothes, next to the old box of chicken wings”. And you know what was crazy: he was right.
But of course our roommate friend made no effort to organize at all, which requires you to ask him for everything. By him not organizing, it’s actually some kind of negligence-power-trap, where you have to go to him for any you need to work with him on, even something as simple as sharing an apartment…
Now multiple this problem by 30X and you have lots, and lots, of businesses out there today. It’s crazy. But even in some sicker way, some leaders actually like this style of leadership because they think it’s “close collaboration”, where everyone has to be in the same room at the same time, to get anything done. Insanity.
Now, I actually do love meetings, but if there’s no order or organization, it creates a system where we don’t trust our teammates to work independently, make decisions independently, and yes, help organize the team as a mini-leader. If we’re not organizing & delegating, it creates a dictatorship.
Now, on the reverse side, too much organization mixed with independence leads to lone wolves…which also sucks. So there must be a healthy…tension between the two.
But I wasn’t writing this to talk the different banks of the river and how a shipwreck can happen on either side. I was writing this because I discovered this:
If you can build order into your teams, which is repeatable, beautiful and functional, you can grow. It's just that simple.
Creating a framework is beautiful. It gives you a starting place to try something new.
Creating a framework of how you organize your teams, how you communicate, how you put files in the right places, how you dish out work…etc. Once you have a framework, it takes a team from chaos, to consistency.
But once a team has consistency, that’s really not the end goal. Consistency allows your team to build, and grow so they don’t need you, they need your team mates, they need the people you just hired.
So once a team has consistency, and it’s growing, then you can go right back into experimentation. And build off of what works, and what doesn’t. And not stay where you are, but continue to grow.
Organization, turns a bunch of ‘master builders’ into a team following ‘instructions’, per our Emmet from Lego Movie. It’s OK to have hot shots on the team – you should have them so you’re surrounding yourselves with people who stretch and grow you.
But it’s not OK to have hot shots who can’t all die a little to themselves, and work together. That’s the ideal team. Talented people, hustling hard, as one. It’s a beautiful thing.