Ecosystem vs Objectives

Do you take into account the ecosystem when you plan your objectives?

To fulfill a dream, you must first define a S.M.A.R.T. goal. That is, a goal which is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Everyone has heard of it. But what about the ecosystem? Do we take it into account? Yet, most of the difficulties encountered during the process come from reactions of the ecosystem.

Let’s consider the case where you have to achieve a goal at work. Your workplace is an ecosystem with its rituals and taboos which after a certain period of time finds its own equilibrium. Each time that we introduce a change in the environment, it creates a terrible imbalance, disequilibrium, and even turbulence. This is called a resistance reaction. If the change is properly introduced, there is minimal turbulence and after a certain time, the system is rebalanced. But sometimes, the change is introduced, see force, neglecting the ecosystem and therefore creating collateral damage that may prevent the achievement of the objective or at least significantly increasing costs.

Whether it is to achieve a personal or business goal, the situation is the same. The ecosystem must always be respected.
Écosystème | PIERRE JUTRAS MANAGEMENTLet me give you an example. I like to do my own landscaping around the house. A few summers ago, I wanted to build a water garden with aquatic plants and some fish in it. I decided to dig the hole myself using a shovel. It measured about two feet deep by 6 feet wide and 8 feet long. When I started, I quickly realized that I was digging in clay. After several days of non-stop effort, I was finally able to install a waterproof canvas and extend the earth all around it. After that, I went to see a botanist to buy some aquatic plants and get some advice. He recommended floating and submerged plants, oxygenating plants, and decorative plants. After an hour of conversation, he asked me: “When did you finish your basin?” I answered: “This morning.” He replied: “I strongly recommend you wait at least one week before introducing the plants.” He explained that the water had to evaporate the chlorine and harmonize with the micro-organisms in the environment. Otherwise, I risked of losing half of the plants within a few days. I took his advice and patiently waited one week before placing all the plants into the basin. Immediately after, I went to buy some fish. After discussing on the quantity and kind of fish, the seller asked me: “When did you finish your basin?” I answered:” Last week.” He said: “With the plants?” I told him: “No, I put the plants this afternoon.” He said: “You’ll have to wait another week. Do you know why?” Yes Yes” I said impatiently, “The ecosystem I know.” A week later, I introduced my red fish slowly, making sure that there was no difference in temperature so the fish received the least amount of stress. To my surprise, as soon as the fish entered the basin, they went directly to the bottom moving the water around and in a few minutes the clear and transparent water was now blurry and opaque. It took an entire week before it became clear again… I understood that the fish had done this to protect themselves while discovering their new environment. It wasn´t to make me upset.”

I have learned three important lessons from this experience.
1- Even if you could have everything done in a single day (basin, plants, and fish) the much-desired objective would not have been successful.
2- Even if in today’s world we live in a fast paste culture, we must take the time to ensure that the environment is always balanced each step of the way.
3- When change is introduced into the workplace, turbulence is created, thus generating fear and resistance. This must be taken into account.
Now, each time I develop a goal, I evaluate its ecology. I not only question the potential gain, but also the losses. I check to see if those who receive a potential gain are not the same as those who suffer loses. I can thus take into account the information before implementing a project.
Today all my objectives have evolved to S.M.A.R.T.E. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely, and ECOSYSTEM)

by Pierre Jutras May 15th, 2011

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