In this article, you are going to learn about the valuable career skill of stabilizing.
An often-overlooked career skill that’ll provide H-U-G-E competitive advantage over your peers.
The Power of Stabilization
The 4 Major Benefits of Stabilization As a Career Skill
If you learn how to stabilize well, there are a four major benefits.
- Benefit #1: You become unflappable.
- Benefit #2: People will love working with you.
- Benefit #3: You will create higher team productivity.
- Benefit #4: You will always have options.
1. You’ll become unflappable.
Typically, you aren’t stabilizing “well-run” environments.
You’ll be making “order out of chaos!”
“Plodding along” (as Peter Drucker would say) in the midst of a chaotic storm and getting the next things done.
Essentially, you become unflappable!
Undeterred by chaotic environments.
Since you’ve been under TOUGH environments with outstanding pressure.
People WANT that—in business and life.
2. People LOVE working with you.
People gravitate towards those who can stabilize.
Since, You’ll naturally make the process easier and smoother.
Stabilizing makes the path and the process for others easier.
3. You will create Higher Team Productivity.
Since you’ve removed barriers to work by stabilizing, you’ve made the others around you (and yourself) more successful.
Naturally, you’ll produce more and get great results!
People who produce more will ALWAYS be in demand.
4. You will always have options.
Unfortunately, the common issue most organizations are poorly run.
If you stabilize well, things are run well!.
Things well run is ALWAYS in-demand.
People will always want to work with you.
Quick Career Skill Power Summary
The Power of Stabilization (for your career)
If you stabilize well: you will always be in demand, people will enjoy working with you, you’ll create results and as a result, you’ll always have options.
The cornerstone of stabilization
The “Adaptive Systems Model Framework” from Organizational Physics By Lex Sisney.
Author Sisney describes stabilization as:
The only real purpose of stabilizing is to make the Producing force more efficient and to ensure that the business is controlling for systemic risk (the kind that can destroy the business, such as a lawsuit, theft, or brand damage).
“…Make the producing force MORE efficient.”
It allows you to move FASTER.
In a shorter amount of time.
When you are creating (i.e. “producing”) little things can slow you down.
Unless you stabilize.
The Goal of Stabilization
To make sure those “Little things” don’t turn into a BIG disaster.
Stabilization Example #1: Basketball Players Putting on Tube Socks
Legendary Basketball Coach John Wooden would teach his players how to put on their socks.
Blisters slowed players down.
Kept them out of the game.
That’s why he stabilized against this “systemic risk.”
The systemic risk in this case was players not playing.
Here’s how Coach Wooden did it.
As told by one of his players, Bill Walton from his autobiography “Back from the Dead”
His first words [Coach Wooden] were, “Men, this is how you put your shoes and socks on.”
We were stunned. We looked around and at each other. Are you kidding me? We’re all high school All-America players and here is this silly little old man showing us how to put on our shoes and socks!
Meticulously, he demonstrated exactly how we were to apply the socks over our toes and pull them up tight to eliminate the possibility of any wrinkles, which could cause blisters.
We thought at the time that a lot of the stuff Coach Wooden was selling—his Pyramid of Success, Seven-Point Creed, Two Sets of Threes, Four Laws of Learning, his maxims, his tools to overcome adversity—were the stupidest things ever
To this very day, whenever I’m going through the routine of preparing to get ready for something big, whether it’s business, personal or physical, I just keep repeating it all to myself. He was able to distill into one or two sentences the greatest lessons of life.
- a SINGLE moment of stabilization can serve as a FOUNDATION for someone’s future.
That’s the beauty of this amazing career skill.
Stabilization Example #2: F1 Race Cars & Track Debris
Formula 1 cars are fighter jets—on land!
Going an excess of 170 mph, They are SKATING across the track!
So any small issue-such as too much debris on the track-can send them CAREENING off course (And the driver potentially dead.).
See all of the black? They are called ”Tire Marbles”.
That’s why the race engineer (i.e. the designated person in charge of the driver’s success) tells the driver where the tire marbles are.
Stabilization Example #3: A Quick Business Example
A simple business example of stabilization is:
ensuring older clients (40+ years old) understand how to technology.
Whether it’s uploading a file to google drive or do a simple screen recording. Setting up a simple checklist to walk someone through those details is huge!
This simple “detail” of uploading a file can be the difference between getting a project out on time and it falling weeks behind schedule
The Main Lesson
Stabilization ensures at high speeds the little details are a non-factor.
Those things you’ve diligently built will not unravel.
How Do You Stabilize?
The nuance of how-to stabilize requires a post unto itself.
Instead here are 10 tools you can use to stabilize.
10 Basic Tools for Stabilization
- Workflow diagrams
- Risk Register
- Contingency Plans
- Build a system
All these are efforts to stabilize.
The Language You’ll Hear Around Stabilization
What is the specific language used around stabilization?
How would you recognize stabilization in the real world?
Here are a few examples.
- “I am getting my ducks in a row”
- “I’m Lining things up.”
- “The lead domino”
- “Putting all the pieces together.”
Why Stabilization Will Help You Meet the High Expectations of a Leader
Typical expectations of a leadership position go like this:
- The higher you climb, the faster you go.
- The faster you go, the more the little things can make a difference.
- The more stable the foundation, the greater the edge against “the pack.”
That’s why YOU stabilize!
It’s remove that risk all together.
Remember the adaptive systems model from above.
The “slower pace” and the “structured approach,” will allow for freedom in the future.
To focus on being an innovator.
Where you can switch your time horizon from a “short view” to a “long view”.
Without the dreaded last minute requests and interruptions!
Now this may sound trivial.
HOWEVER, when you are a leader and you are moving fast the inbound requests and the speed at which you are expected to move is ASTRONOMICALLY higher & faster.
Basically, you’ll have:
- Greater Performance Expectations
- Lower Margin for Error
- Higher Consequences for Failure
Thus, you need to stabilize.
Remember: “The only real purpose of stabilizing…is controlling for systemic risk“
I.e. the kind that can destroy the business.
You don’t want to put in all this hard work for the thing you’ve built to be destroyed.
- That’s why F1 drivers know where the tire marbles are.
- That’s why John Wooden taught his players how to put on socks.
- That’s why you’ll notice the stabilizing details too.
Words of Caution with Stabilization
Caution #1: People will Try to Take Advantage of Your Stabilization Skill.
Stabilization is fantastic as a career skill.
However, it does come with one key drawback.
The Drawback: People will start to hand you things, simply because they know you can do it.
This can be a trap!
Be selective about the projects you stabilize.
Make sure it’s worth your investment and time.
Caution #2: Stabilization isn’t for Everyone— All The time!
It’s okay to have natural inclination to stabilize in one area and not another.
It’s okay to not have the inclination or not identify with it at all!
You can say, “It’s not for me.”
You don’t have to identify with JUST being:
- An Innovator
- A Stabilizer
- A Producer
- A Unifier
You are a complex being.
You are allowed to shift between multiple identities.
To be flexible and adaptable.
After all, that’s why it’s called the ADAPTIVE systems model.
Not the rigid, only one thing model.
It’s okay to change.
It just has to be a fit for YOU!
Stabilization is just one powerful tool in your tool belt.