It Doesn’t Take Long for Chaos to Become the Norm

We’ve all got one of these at home or in the office: the junk drawer that is at once indispensable and completely disorganized. Some people even work in that same environment and it’s amazing how quickly total chaos can become business as usual.

A client tells me that’s exactly her working reality: irrelevant processes, a lack of clear goals and objectives, constant brushfires that must be stamped out and only anecdotal measurement of how things are progressing.

She loves it. That’s entirely thanks to her personality and need for speed.

Life in daily news seems very much like vaguely organized chaos but it’s not. Although journalists report into the newsroom every day, never knowing if they’ll be covering a political story, a sudden burst of random violence, innovative technology, or an old grievance, there is structure around the eventual product. If it’s radio they know their deadlines and formats, same for television and print. Yes, it’s more complex now that every journalist also must file for the website and various social media platforms but reporting on chaos isn’t the same as trying to live in it.

If the format of your organization is lacking structure, the best you can do is create your own. What do YOU want to achieve each day? How will you know if you’ve succeeded? Who can you trust to give you feedback? As a colleague put it recently, “ride the wave; just don’t fall off.”

Joanna Piros