Everyday I drive past a really beautiful part of the Hudson River. I usually will silently enjoy it, though sometimes I will shout the first thing I can think of, which is usually “whoa, that’s so awesome!” And then a nagging feeling of always wanting to capture what I see. That is before the internal debate of whether or not taking a picture would diminish it in some way. Then my mind fills with all sorts of notions of what being present, absorbing the beauty and expecting nothing, means. Followed by the other desire to share something beautiful.
Am I taking the easier road in not designing a way to create something to take a damn picture? Or are my ideas of what it means to not take the moment for granite, just, good enough?
“Good enough.” What the fuck is that? Is this some sort of deep 0-day for my brain, a key phrase to submit and induce complacence? Or just another excuse to sideline the responsibility to someone else? Who gives a shit if I take a picture of some historically polluted Upstate NY river. I am over embellishing, sure. I mean come on, we have plenty of brilliant pictures of sun rises over the worlds gorgeous bodies, of water. But the lingering questions still remain.
Maybe this is just a side effect of my daily commute to a cubicle where the same, endless struggle bounces around. To decide when "good enough," is good enough and when to drown the way we do something in gas and light a match—suppose it's easier to argue about 'what if I were to take a picture' in the morning to myself, than introduce a cleaner process that could potentially innovate my colleagues out of a job.
At least, that is the rational I've created when I think of the unintended consequences of not backing down from taking responsibility for processes that are archaic, but not set in stone. Most of the time when I hear someone saying it's not my job and leaving it for the next guy, it makes them fragile. A glimpse into their fears of failure and change.
With both extremes constantly battling for reign, over my passion for the design of smarter ways to work, and the need for self-preservation in a large corporate structure, nothing seems to make it a clearer path forward than to start removing the myself from the equation.
So on one hand you have my desire to accelerate my departments capacity to accept and complete work by creating simpler processes or introduce other sort of efficiencies like automation. And on the other, the ripple effect created from similar work overlaps and the replacement of skilled colleagues. If I were to apply the technique to remove myself from the equation the whole debate stops and I could've never bothered to give a shit in the first place.
This back and forth has led me to the conclusion that change only happens when an individual takes the responsibility and they are engaged. Someone defiant of accepting what is handed to them when there are obvious flaws and they have the piece of mind to think beyond the here and now and see the what could be. Consider it a part of productivity or call it innovation, but examine the positive and negative connotations attached. Innovation doesn't always skew positive all the time for everyone involved. If you have the ability and desire to effect some change or even start a discussion about it, you will have more power in the way the process can be shaped. A seat at the table is better than seeing the issues from the inside out and waiting for someone else to take charge, especially when they usually won't have the best interests of your team at heart.
So instead of removing yourself from the equation, double down. Define the different ways you can be more involved and continue to improve what you care about. Your engagement and empathy is a strength that will help guide you when you're advocating for the opportunity to create, shape and facilitate change.