Balance is a good thing for bicycles, tightrope walkers and ballerinas. Toddlers need balance, as do the wheels on your car and those amazing young women who jump and spin on a four-inch wide balance beam in the Olympics.
The adage “all work and no play . . .” speaks to the need for variety. It’s often used in conversation where someone complains of needing to achieve balance in their activities but most of us would agree that “50% work and 50% play . . .” would be a poor formula for success.
In bike riding, ballet and circus acts, balance is not the objective but rather the means to a successful end. You don’t balance a bicycle for the sake of balance, you do it to enable the bike to move forward. Getting to Point B is the goal — balance is only part of the process.
Too much focus on balance will
impede forward progress.
Little children tumble over as they learn to walk because it’s necessary to upset their balance in order to take a step. If staying in balance were the objective, the toddler would simply stand up and stay standing. But they would never learn to walk.
The same is true of individuals and the teams they populate.
The most successful individuals, groups, and organizations are those where balance is not the focus but only part of the process.
In-N-Out Burger is widely popular because of, not despite, their unbalanced menu – nothing but burgers and fries.
If every musician in an orchestra played their instrument at the same level of volume, the result would be – well, you’ve heard this if you’ve ever attended a junior high band concert.
Think about this:
Instead of looking for balance, think about how each team member has a unique strength that can be applied to forward momentum. Requiring the analytical people on your team to pretend they are visionary wastes their time and their talents just as much as asking the big picture people to plan out the details. Let your dreamers dream and your analysts analyze.
Your team has a greater likelihood of achieving its goals if everyone on the team concentrates — not on maintaining a balance, but rather — on playing their own part to the best of their ability.
Ask these questions of yourself and then discuss the answers with your team:
1.Do you know the personal strength you bring to your team?
2.Do you know the personal strength of everyone else on the team?
3.Describe a recent situation where balance impeded forward momentum.