Question: Sometimes entrepreneurial environments become wild and crazy. How do I keep from getting sucked in and swallowed up by all this confusion?
Answer: Don’t you just love it? The environment you describe is typical of a dynamic, fast-paced organization. Meetings and phone calls – one right after another; multiple deals and projects to be tended; and e-mails flying at a dizzying speeds, all add up to only one thing. Chaos. Personally, I am energized by such situations. But it wouldn’t be hard for everything to tip over and fall into the abyss, metaphorically speaking.
Managing chaos is a test in multi-tasking; thinking three-dimensionally; practicing patience; maintaining composure; having a sense of humor; demonstrating physical and mental stamina; being flexible; staying positive; thinking creatively, and communicating effectively. Whew! Seems like a pretty tall order, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it be more productive if there was more of an orderly flow within an organization? Maybe, but chaos can produce some amazing results.
When things become chaotic, entrepreneurial leaders find out who in an organization can step up and produce results. They see clearly who wilts and who thrives under the pressure. And out of chaos can actually emerge some of the best ideas. One of the finest examples is the Empire State Building. Imagine this. Construction began in January 1930, just when the Great Depression was settling over the country. More than 3,400 workers swarmed the site and built the tallest building in the world – 1,250 feet and containing 2,248,355 square feet (the size of 47 football fields) – and they completed it in 410 days! Imagine the enormity and complexity of this project. The chaos we experience as entrepreneurs is a fraction of what must of have been present with the Empire State Building. I consider this building to be a literal and figurative monument to creating order out of chaos.
So what’s the trick to making chaos work productively and not letting it consume us? First, it’s important to ignore all of the “noise” that comes with chaotic situations. We must become expert at focusing on only that which matters – keep an eye on the prize so to speak. Block out everything else. Second, it is critical that we identify priorities in the jumble of craziness, tasks and emotions. Failure to prioritize is one of the most lethal and negative aspects of chaos. Finally, consciously look for the positive results that can emanate from chaotic situations and feed off of them. This is obviously a state-of-mind opportunity and a choice we can make. The choice is really pretty simple. We can either allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the chaos, or we can rise above it and use it as a tool to propel our cause.
Chaos is a highly-charged energy flow. It simply has no order to it. When we are able to harness the positive energy elements of chaos, we can use the momentum to create order and attain our goals at a much higher level than otherwise possible.
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.