I am doing a training session tomorrow and one of the topics I am discussing is sandbox issues. Here's the cliff notes version.
Assertion: Sandbox issues are at the core of most managerial setbacks and problems.
Sandbox Defined: A real or imagined territory.
Sandbox Issue Defined: Problems (drama, mostly) that occur when people try to climb into our sandbox or when we try to climb into other people's sandboxes.
Reality: We have no sandbox - we are imagining it all. Like a mirage for a person thirsty for an ego stroke. This is an organization. Work and people are interdependent. We might have accountability but we have no territory. Others have every right to hop into our imagined sandbox and muck about. If they aren't, it is likely because we are scaring them away and this is irresponsible.
Here's the bottom line. To be agile and to be a good member of the organization, we need to get rid of the stories we are telling ourselves about sandboxes. We need to:
1. Invite people into our sandboxes (especially since they don't really exist), even when they do not yet possess the savvy to do that well.
2. Build the skills to climb into other people's imagined sandboxes without causing drama.
And eventually, if we get good at this - especially if our peers do the same - we will no longer see sandboxes. This is what we will see:
Beautiful isn't it? This is a picture I took of White Sands National Monument - all white gypsum for miles and miles. And this is a beautiful sight in organizations. No sandboxes, just one humongous beach.
What would you say to coach yourself into not feeling tense or irritated when others approach your sandbox and to invite more people into your sandbox?