• James Walton

The Law of the Trampoline

We have a trampoline in the back yard and now that I'm working from home, my boys ask me to jump on it with them every day.

And every day, I'm reminded how the energy of a seven year old boy could power Portugal if we could find some way to harness it all.

The real fun of a trampoline for a kid is getting 'popped' by the adult. A well-timed jump by the larger person just before the kid lands can bounce the child much higher than they ever could get by themselves.

If this wasn't part of your childhood, my condolences. Just trust me when I say it's cool.

And based off that little experience, let me suggest an analogy between trampolines and organizational development.

Law 1: It's the leader's job to 'pop' the junior members of the team. This means using your organizational clout to make a way for others to access projects, information and responsibility that will help them grow. You're a way-maker who prioritizes the development of your team. 

Law 2: It's the junior member's job to be in motion already. You'll bounce a lot higher on a trampoline when you get popped if you're already bouncing. Leaders should focus on those already demonstrating effectiveness and have a desire for more growth. Not everyone will make the most of a new opportunity, so choose who you pop wisely.

Law 3: They might not stick the landing. New heights are scary, that's part of what makes it fun for a kid on a trampoline. In organizational life, be prepared to coach a junior leader throughout the process - they have been here before. Schedule an After Action Review meeting to discuss how the project went before it begins.

Every metaphor breaks down after a while, so I'll stop there. But the next time you engage with a more junior colleague at work, think about how you can use your organizational weight to accelerate their career.  _____________________________________________ If a friend or colleague could benefit from 2x/weekly business wisdom delivered to their inbox, please send them this link. At Trellis Group, we believe chaos is the enemy of the small business. It's our mission to partner with small business owners and their teams to develop the managerial practices and processes to crush chaos. Revenues go up, anxiety goes down, and work becomes a force multiplier for good in the lives of your people. Reach out to discover how the Trellis Group can help you crush chaos.

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