December 11

Have you ever had a client, or another team, or even another person in your organization that you dreaded having to work with? You just knew that the entire project was going to be chaotic and that you would end up having to deal with not only the complexity of the project itself, but also the complexity of the other person or team. This is not uncommon in highly collaborative work. Different people and teams have varying standards for how they organize and what they expect from one another.

Here’s the thing: you cannot allow yourself to be drawn into the chaos of your client or collaborator. You must maintain your standards of engagement, and refuse to allow yourself to get swept away by the other person’s lack of organizational skills or by their lack of health.

I’ve always loved the Polish saying “Not my circus, not my monkey.” It means that you refuse to take responsibility for the chaos that everyone around you creates. All you can do is own your own work, stay focused, and avoid getting draw into the circus.

Don’t get drawn into the chaos of your client or collaborators. Stay organized, maintain clear expectations, and own your process.

Question: Is there any place where you’re getting drawn into someone else’s circus? What can you do about it?

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