Bombogenisis! A weather term that seems to be used quite frequently this winter. California experienced the “pinneapple express” version of a bombegenisis where rivers of moisture intensified into massive rainfalls. Today, the east coast is waking up to a rapidly intensifying storm as it passes over the ocean and brings extensive snow to areas that were already teased into spring fever. Bombogenisis meets Nor’easter. What does this weather phenomena have to do with your workplace? Think a minute…
- Ever come into the office and feel like you are in a swirl where the challenges intensify as the day progresses?
- Have you ever faced a deadline and the list of “incredibly urgent’ unexpected tasks distracted you from the goal and a wave of work piles up on you?
- Or perhaps you’ve experienced multiple employees in escalating conflict? The dynamic intensifies with so much energy that it becomes seemingly impossible to stop the conflict laden dialogue.
- Lastly, how about you, it’s Friday afternoon and you are trying to wrap up the day. The mountain of work you did not get to all week is facing you. You must face the decision to work over the weekend or leave it until Monday and face the Monday morning/post weekend bombogenisis. Or maybe even a bombogenisis on the home front because work is impacting family time.
Perhaps we can take a few lessons from the world of weather forecasters.
First, prepare in advance. These big storms are predicted in advance so people have the right supplies for food, water and safety. In our workplaces, we can plan for the pain points. On those days where you know there are critical deadlines and dynamics in the swirl, create more space on your schedule. Time block larger chunks of work time in advance so you have enough time to complete the tasks at hand and be disrupted. A short caveat on this preparation cycle is that it’s easy to panic when in a bombogensis. ( Weather forecasters are great at creating panic). Panic is not going to help.
Second, forecast options. Any good weather person knows that the weather forecast is just a model until it begins to snow, rain, blow or sleet. On Monday morning (or Sunday evening), plan your week. What are the most urgent and important things you must get done? Then look at your calendar. Where are the blocks of time to complete that work? Do you have too many meetings scheduled to complete your tasks? If so, reschedule a few or ask the meeting organizers if there is flexibility in your arrival time/departure. Some meetings you are only needed for part of the discussion. Be there for that and then go back to work. Or, do as some organizations are doing, adopt a “no meeting” afternoon or day. In this approach, they agree to keep everyone’s schedule free of meetings for a block of time to increase efficiency, energy and performance. Think about your options?
Third, use data to help you make key decisions. Weather forecasters give us key data points: temperature, wind speed, rainfall. What are the key data points you need to be tracking during a workplace bombogensis? Are you tracking the right data?
Lastly, while a bombegensis can be destructive and disruptive, there are other ways to look at it. Playing in the snow, jumping in puddles, walking through waterfalls, and singing in the rain. A workplace bombogenesis creates opportunity for colleagues to connect, look back with a sense of humor or forward to recovery and reconciliation with anticipation.
Watch your weather forecasters. What else can they teach us about surviving and thriving a workplace bombogensis?