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

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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