Work Avoidance…

From all outward appearances they were a well oiled machine. The mission of the organization was clear and all seemed to be fully on board. Each person on the team possessed a high skill level in their area of responsibility and a clear proven track record. Yet here was the ask from the leader of the organization, “Are you available to come coach me and my team? We’re stuck!”

How is it that a high capacity organization, or individual for that matter, with significant potential gets stuck? In my experience the answer more times than not is what one of my most respected leadership colleagues refers to as Work Avoidance.

On the surface when one hears the phrase Work Avoidance it is easy to assume laziness. However, the reality is extremely competent individuals and organizations often suffer from Work Avoidance. Rather than laziness, the primary presenting issue is fear.

From a systems perspective you often find individuals and organizations with masterful technical competency and capacity. Yet when it comes to adaptive skills – openness to wonder, creativity, willingness to risk, not afraid of failure – many folks, at least initially, come up short. They possess the mechanism to move forward but they’re stuck in the snare of anxiety.

Of course Work Avoidance doesn’t only manifest itself in our professional lives. There are many occasions and situations in our personal lives where we have full capacity to move ahead but hold ourselves back.

Personally, I’m pretty consistently confident in my capacity to assess, organize, categorize and prioritize. However, there are those occasions where I can over analyze or rationalize to the point of clearly inhibiting my execution.

Afraid one does not have all the data needed, concerned about how much bandwidth it will consume, anxious about the risk, the unknown, and of course fear of failure all are major contributors to Work Avoidance.

When I find myself in this predicament I remind myself of what I learned from one of my favorite innovators. It all comes down to one thing: one decision, one step, one risk which then inevitably leads to one more step. Or what I call the Innovative Loop: Imagine – Implement – Reimagine. The invitation is to move from the fear / stuck frame to take that one step of faith of many on the journey.

1 thought on “Work Avoidance…”

  1. Yes! We walk by faith and not by sight. Being part of a supportive community that encourages creativity, allows thoughtful risk-taking, and understands “failing forward” really helps to keep the adaptive work flow going. And – even where that may be lacking – the Spirit renews us and frees us with inward affirmation – We are Loved by God, Inspired by God, Empowered by God and Protected by God to work out our holy calling.

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