Strength and talent grow with the weight of responsibility just like holding this heavy rock.

What happens when you take on the weight of another’s responsibility or things not aligned with your intent?

As I work with leaders and teams, this is an important and easy analogy to grasp. Who holds which rock? While collaboration is a beautiful thing, clarity and commitment about responsibility is what moves things forward.

The following are common themes I find in organizations:

Taking on a rock that doesn’t belong to you

If an associate or staff member has a problem – when do you take the ‘rock’ on and when do you guide him how to manage that rock? Many times the easy short-term solution is to take it on and do it your self.   When you do this, remember three not so great results:

  • The associate misses the opportunity to develop his or her strength, talent, and knowledge
  • You teach the other person you will solve his or her problems or do their work
  • You may overload yourself with this extra rock

Identifying the rock owner

 A team meeting is a wonderful thing. People come together to discuss issues collectively. It always surprises me how many times people leave a meeting without clear ownership of next steps. To clarify the rock owners:

  • Prior to the meeting clarify the intent of the gathering
  • At the end of the meeting, ask the question “Who is doing what? And, by when?”
  • After the meeting communicate clearly in writing ‘rock’ ownership

Distributing and sharing the rock
Collaboration moves teams forward. Sharing the rock and distributing the load are key to engagement and enthusiasm. Be conscious of that distribution and the type of rock suits each person best at his or her development level.

Whatever rock or weight you are carrying — bring it to center for maximum, momentum!

Think Discus thrower!

Please add your experiences fitting this rock metaphor in your work life below!









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