There is a proliferation of inflatable Christmas decorations this year – the ones that run on motors and blow up to be greater-than-life-size by night to fill yards with colorful characters. The problem is that by day, these same decorations are lifeless parachutes that are just blobs of nylon laying on the lawn. Not only don’t they add to the ambiance, they actually detract from it.

Too often organizations parallel these decorations – focusing only on the moments of a program without consideration to the before or after. Organizations make decisions to add a service that sounds good in the present but don’t pay heed to what needs to happen in the intervening moments to allow the offering to remain viable. People expend their energy on the few moments of inflation when in reality there is set-up, storage and the detraction of deflation to contend with.

Before you invest your resources in the equivalent of a giant inflatable – something that is showy, but really just air – reconsider whether something smaller and more consistent would be better for your organization. If you can only sustain momentum for a few hours, another option is probably the better choice.


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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