By Bill Flury

Unfair! Unfair!
We have all experienced big storms with lots of lightning flashing everywhere, lighting up the sky, sometimes doing great damage, and sometimes, just crashing about from one cloud to another. What do we call these outbursts of lightning? We call them thunderstorms.

This is “Soooooooo Unfair!.” Thunder gets the top billing but it’s the lightning that does all the work. We hear the thunder but we don’t immediately see what the lightning has been doing. As a result, we focus on the thunder and ignore the lightning. There’s something really wrong with that. We should be focusing on what the lightning has been doing and paying attention to that.

You can experience some types of lightning and thunder on your projects. When that occurs, you need to pay attention to the lightning and not let the thunder divert your attention from what the lightning is doing.

There are many different types of lightning in nature. The principal types are:

  • Positive Lightning: Appears to come out of nowhere and strikes downward imparting great energy wherever it lands.
  • Negative Lightning: Goes the other way, It travels upward carrying moving energy away from the ground.
  • Cloud-to-Cloud Lightning: Flashes from one cloud to another, expending energy in a seemingly random manner.

There can be equivalent types of lightning on your projects.

Positive Lightning – You see this when someone on your team lights up the discussion with a solution to a long-standing problem or a totally new insight into the work you are doing. In a slightly different form it may shatter a long-standing barrier to progress. It appears in a flash of brilliance and increases your prospects for success. You need to be sure that this type of lightning is accompanied by appropriate thunder and add to it your own thunderous applause. When your team hears that it will likely encourage more positive bolts from the blue.

In some cases you may hear some loud thunder that is unfairly claiming credit for some of the positive lighting coming from others. In this situation, you need to take action to ensure proper assignment of credit.

Negative Lightning – In some cases, you may hear thunder from negative bolts. This thunder has a distinctive sound, more like a grumble than a rumble. It leads to dark clouds of pessimism and concern. It takes energy away from your project. It may wreck long-term working relationships or structures. It can cause power fluctuations, disrupt team relationships, damage morale and darken chances for team success. When you hear this type of thunder you need to track down the source and try to change the negative energy to positive.

Cloud-to-Cloud Lightning – Perhaps most troubling to you will be a continuous mumble of cloud-to-cloud thunder that indicates a lot of energy being expended with little, if any effect. When you hear this, you will have to put on your lightning proof suit, charge out into the storm and refocus the energy from neutral to positive.

Give the Lightning Proper Credit
Look carefully at the lightning, listen carefully to the thunder and be fair. Make sure that you deal appropriately with your project’s weather. Remember, the thunder is just what you hear about what’s going on. You need to pay close attention to the lightning. That’s what is doing the significant work.

How do you ensure that you are paying close attention to the lightning?
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