Jumping OVER

Jumping the fence out into something new. Photo by Mary Taylor on Pexels.com

We are enthusiastic about the potential to jump boundaries. The process of crossing boundaries is a difficult one. It can be hard to know if we are jumping in or out.

I want to go to the other bank

In the trees on the other bank
a solitary startled wood pigeon
flies towards me

Bei Dao, The Boundary tr. Bonnie S MacDougall

New Boundaries

Before the pandemic arrived in 2020, I had started working on better understanding and shaping some boundaries around my work and life. The last 18 months have reshaped that quest radically.

The boundaries have never been narrower. We have adapted to working remotely, but I think we are only just starting to proactively manage the implications for our organisations ongoing. These changes to work have social implications that are yet to play our. I wonder if the “Great Resignation” themes we are seeing promoted in the business media are not the outcome of constraining people and making them focus on the narrowness of their work undistracted by travel, busyness and other social distractions.

Near And Far

Effective individuals and organisations will not be constrained by the boundaries set by spaces. They will shape the boundaries of the networks that are necessary to succeed in their work. Focusing on network, rather than physical space, changes our view of near and far. A surprising percentage of our work interactions in a typical office and even common electronic communications are shaped by the ’50 meter’ rule. Such an arbitrary measure can’t be an outcome of effectiveness.

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

ee cummings, somewhere i have never travelled

We need to teach our employees to navigate new networks and to cross boundaries, near and far. This process is not always an easy one. We need different skills to navigate networks. We will discover terrritories marked only on the map as ‘Here be Monsters’. Much of what we will encounter will be diverse, strange and uncomfortable. Success in these new environments will take different skills and learning.

Boundaries work in two ways. As much as they define ‘out’, they also define a new ‘in’. It is worthwhile for us to remember this. For every thing we grieve as we cross a boundary, we discover new and often more productive outcomes. Jumping out can be just jumping into a new context. The challenge is to ensure that the new context is better, more rewarding and more productive. Jumping boundaries to find a new hamster wheel is for hamsters.

As our physical interactions are constrained, we need to learn to jump new boundaries into better more productive ways of work. That process won’t always be comfortable at first. However, it may be the case that without leaving your space, you are jumping out into something new and better.

Allow me to stay in my room
and weave my rainbows.

Chungmi Kim, Allow Me

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