I handle logistics for an organization’s innovation cohort – arranging meals, travel, accommodations, communication, hospitality – but one thing that I don’t do is make coffee. Making a good pot seems to require a magic touch, like a chef putting just the right amount of ingredients into a big pot of soup.

The Keurig K-cups give the illusion that there is a standard amount of grounds to make the perfect cup, but my experience with filling a coffeemaker is quite different from that. Even with elaborate written instructions, the author of them still varies the portions and defines “heaping” differently than others do. As a non-coffee drinker, I have no manner to judge whether I’m on the mark or not. Cohort members joke with me about it because I do most any other task but I have concluded that it’s best to leave the coffee making to the coffee drinkers.

Is there an equivalent to coffeemaking in your organization – something that can be done to accommodate personal preference rather than trying to standardize it – or can you develop your own version of K-cups to take the guesswork out of a variable process? Or maybe it’s just best to leave some tasks for others.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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