“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall; it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing, in the end, can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. …Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” ~ Margaret Atwood
In the last weeks, our area has seen historical water levels on the Mississippi River. As much as we want to hold back the water, it finds the cracks and pressures the walls. It is a reminder that water, at volume over time, won’t resist barriers and will eventually find its way around.
The lessons of the last weeks were good reminders for our businesses and careers.
- When you can’t go through an obstacle go around it.
When your surroundings and those around you don’t support your idea or career, find others who will assist you. Go around the obstacles but be ready for a change in your environment and people. Just as water finds a place to land, you can find a place to land where support is possible.
2. When you drive something with enough pressure for enough time, you can make a mark.
A diametrically opposing theory to the last lesson is that eventually, you can wear your mark into an organization. Just as water can eventually wear on a stone, you also can drive an initiative into the culture. Time and persistence is the key to driving a change.
3. Lastly, when resources leave from an effort/project, the level of performance will not be maintained.
When a levee breaks, the void will be filled with water but the water level will subside. A levee is a reminder that if a resource is removed and not replaced, the gaps will be filled but the performance will wain. Replace resources with equivalent or better skill levels; otherwise, the performance of a team or project will suffer. Don’t take your hand out of the bucket if you need to continue to maintain a water level that requires your hand to be present.
Lessons from water can be useful but straightforward. I invite you to build on this post. An interactive audience enables learning for us all.