Re-arranging the Furniture – The Power of Context

Remember a time when you went away and came back to find your teenagers had re-organised your home? Or, someone had slept in your bed? Borrowed your car?

They may have had the best intentions and tried to put things back to order before you arrived – but somehow, it just wasn’t right. Dishes in the wrong cupboard, steak knives in the wrong drawer. Car seat too far back, mirrors wrong. In spite of their best efforts, you knew in a flash, someone else had been there. Why is that?

Because, your context, the way you do things, how you have organised your life or the systems and structures you have evolved to suppress chaos – is unique to you. And, it works for you. Your business, your organisation, your life; has evolved over time as you have got to know and adapted to the various challenges, demands and idiosyncrasies of your situation. Nobody else can understand all of this! Whilst external points of view and ideas might be valuable, even essential, they need to be tested in your context.

So, if you’re going to improve or change anything, choosing who helps you is important. Nobody can walk into your context and tell you what to do. Any improvements, rearrangements or change, must come from within. We know this – intuitively, from experience and from decades of research. And yet, when we want to make a change, for some reason we call in ‘experts’ to come and ‘fix us up’. Of course, there are plenty of these type of ‘experts’ who are only too willing to take your money, ride up on their particular white charger and rescue you from yourselves. ‘Train’ your people to be ‘better’. More productive, empathetic, service-oriented, skilled or compliant, human beings.

The problem is, your horse is a bay! And an endurance horse, not a sprinter! It doesn’t even understand white-horse mentality let alone the knight that’s riding it. And, more importantly, the knight on the charger gained their expertise in a different context. Why do we think it will simply transfer to ours? The reality is, it won’t.

Experts are great people in their field but only useful to you, when you are allowed to take the reins, adapt what they offer you, and apply it in your own context. Choose them wisely. If they offer to organise your furniture for you, find someone else. Someone who can help you rearrange it yourselves. Only then, will it work – for you.

Lab and Mary Wilson (the Bats Team)

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