The Shocking Truth About Binders

I want to tell you about a pet peeve of mine…binders.

For me, this realization struck hard before LeaderShift® was a twinkle of a business plan and carried through most of the executive roles I played throughout my career. Maybe you’ve been there. For me, it started at the mercy of those shiny tie consultants. You may know some of them.

Does a shelf of binders like the image above look familiar? Have you seen a shelf like this in someone’s office? Do you work in this office? There are binders from consultants, committees, projects, etc. They represent lots of great ideas, tools, presentations, projects, report outs, etc.

But they all live happily ever after. Slowing fading away … in a binder.

Often these things just don’t seem to work in real life when applied to real people.

Have you ever felt like all those projects in there – the strategic planning, merger work streams, budgeting, committees, and org design often feel like they’re being done TO you or AT you and not WITH you?

Sometimes I think we should have a moment of silence for all the binders that went to rest without ever making the changes they were intended to. Seriously. It’s sad.

So when we got into this business, we realized the consulting industry was broken.

We decided we would make change, not binders.

The content of the binders in most offices is a direct response to disruption. We create them as a direct response to the things that hit our organization that require us to do things more efficiently, effectively, differently or fix something that is broken. Even the annual planning and budgeting process responds to market disruption and competitive pressures.

Although most of us have a pretty good sense of what the word disruption means intellectually, we may each have different ways of experiencing it emotionally. That’s where personalities, hidden agendas, unhealthy competition, and various other factors can sap an organization’s ability to thrive in the face of change. How often have you been in a delivery of implementation meeting where colleagues argued for and against what was being proposed. The facts were on the table, but emotions run high.

Often the emotions cloud the facts and are driven by all sorts of hidden agendas. “Will my department be downsized? Is my job at risk? Do the recommendations point to me as a cause?” In the end, these emotions can shut a well-intended project down, with nothing to show for it.

To avoid the emotion, we neatly create steering teams, sponsor meetings, and project teams…and of course more binders. You may not think it happens to you, but at least admit it happens to some of the people around you.

Because disruption has an energy to it. It evokes fear, panic, scarcity. It’s triggering. And it’s infectious. It is CRUCIAL to have certain key elements to the way things are done in your company so that when the shock hits, you’re already resilient.

People know what to do.

That initial jolt of panic or fear becomes a catalyst to action and people on your team become energized by the possibilities that are unfolding instead of exhausted, paranoid or jumping ship.

You CAN create your own insurance policy against disruption. You CAN become resilient and build teams that are resilient and have companies that have the power to be energized by disruption rather than stressed by it.

When asked what they think of when they hear the word, resilience, most people will tell you, ‘bouncing back’. But in today’s uncertain, complex and often ambiguous market, bouncing back is simply not enough. By the time you or your organization bounces back, things will have changed. There is simply no ‘back’ to bounce to.

Resilience is the power to be energized and elevated by disruption. It is the internal fortitude to come back stronger and more effectively after disruption.

And it must be built before you or your organization needs it.

If you want to build a more resilient organization, contact us. It’s what we do. And look for Jennifer Eggers and Cynthia Barlow’s new book, launching later this summer entitled Organizational Resilience: It’s Not About Bouncing Back.

LeaderShift Insights® aligns people, structure, and investments to drive strategy and equip organizations to thrive in the face of rapid, disruptive change.