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Are you the Blockage?

Like many of my blogs or articles, the idea came from a comment made by a client. This was a small law firm in the Midlands (approx. 10 people).

2 partners told me that things started changing when they asked themselves if they were the blockage. I was impressed that they had the humility, courage and clarity of thought to step back and honestly ask the question. They were both very competent lawyers. They realised that, no matter how good they were, they couldn’t do it all.

  • They would have to decide what they wanted.
  • They would have to delegate.
  • They would have to train up people to do certain things.
  • They would need to design processes (or document what they did) so that things would be done the way they wanted them to be done.
  • They would need systems to automate and then to enable them to monitor and review.

The alternative was the same hamster wheel, which would ultimately wear them out, with no chance to enjoy what they wanted to do or plan for succession in due course.

Once that decision was made things flowed from it. Setting a clear goal and holding up decisions in the future against it enabled them to stay on course.

This applies right across aspects of business or personal life.

Are you the blockage?

A great contemporaneous example is the sudden change in working practices which the Covid Lockdown has forced upon business. Working from home, remote working, flexible working have all been held back by management’s objections. The Covid Lockdown meant that blocking that change was no longer an option if you wanted to stay in business. They simply had to find a way.

People don’t like change. It involves risk. It makes us feel uncomfortable. It may require extra effort. Inertia is one of the strongest forces in nature! Also, people don’t like having to face awkward questions. Lawyers and Accountants (perhaps all of the traditional professions) are naturally cautious. They are professionally trained to be so – as they spend their working lives trying to protect their clients from risk or clear up the mess after things have gone wrong. However, if a business is to progress, adapt, survive, take advantage of opportunities, it has to take risks and make changes.

Here are some questions you could put to yourself to find out if you are the blockage …

  • What are we trying to achieve?
  • Have we done so yet to the optimal level?
  • If not, what is the shortest route to it?
  • What are the steps along that route?
  • What resources do we need to achieve it?
  • How can you optimise each stage/step?
  • How are you measuring performance?
  • What impedes optimal progress to the goal?

So – are you the blockage?

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