Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Block and Tackle

Over the weekend, I was thinking about block and tackle systems. For those of you who don’t know, a block and tackle is a system of two or more pulleys with a rope or cable threaded between them, usually used to lift or pull heavy loads. If you want an in depth description of a block and tackle, check out the video below.

Can't see the video? Click here.

I learned about block and tackles when I was a kid, and received more detailed information on them when I briefly explored an engineering major when I started college (I eventually discovered what I really wanted my academic career to focus on – skiing).

Even with my shift of focus at school, I always retained an admiration for the beauty and power of a block and tackle system. There is much to be said for simple infrastructure of pulleys and ropes that leads to such a significantly lessened workload. At Imagine!, we also have an infrastructure system which frequently leads to a lightened workload.

I have noticed this several times recently, and felt it was worth acknowledging publicly.

Like many organizations, sometimes at Imagine! we find find ourselves facing unexpected challenges. During those challenges, it is important that every person involved understands his or her role in addressing the challenge, and is able to execute that role for the benefit of the broader organization. One person may take the lead during the challenge, but his or her ability to handle the challenge depends directly on how many people are providing support. In other words, people acting as ropes and pulleys to lessen the load can mean the difference between a successful outcome and disaster.

We have faced a few such challenges at Imagine! recently, and in each one I was extremely impressed by how Imagine! staff members came together to form impromptu block and tackle systems to lighten the load for others. In some cases, the person lifting the load might not have even been aware of the others who were working behind the scenes to assist in addressing the challenge. But in all of the examples, the proper team members stepped up when needed to ensure the best results possible.

Of course we aren’t perfect at Imagine!. We make mistakes. But in case after case, I find myself humbled by the great work that so many do here, acting as ropes and/or pulleys, to make sure that the person lifting the load isn’t forced to go it alone. It makes me proud to be part of the Imagine! team.

Then again, what do I know?

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