All of us are drawn towards things that make sense. They are coherent and demonstrate strength. Positive outcomes are more visible when coherence and strength are present.
This leads to the question of where does coherence & strength come from? Why is it that, whatever the reason, it is never apparent from the outside looking in? Where there is coherence & strength, there is an absence of chaos or disorder. Many times there is a rhythm to the work output making it feel natural to us.
Everything that has coherence & strength has an underlying structure to it. In a person, it is their habits and steps that they go through in a day. For an organization, it is their embedded processes and rule books that guide behavior in a positive way that delivers good outcomes.
A good school has a strong curriculum that supports instruction. There is a scope and sequence that each teacher needs and delivers to their students so that they are prepared to learn in the next grade. Scope & sequence (learning structure) delivers the consistency of instruction that nurtures a feeling of coherence & strength throughout the school when followed.
The sound of a good DJ is more than the songs they play. They too have a sequence and structure to the music they play, using harmonic mixing and beat matching, to deliver smooth transitions to their songs. A good DJ consistently plays good music because of the way they structure their song list. Not only does their sound feel good, but it too has coherence & strength.
A middle aged fit person, has steps and habits they take, behind the scenes, to be fit. There is a structure to their day going from what they choose to eat to how much they exercise. Their structure also helps them define what is not good for them to eat. It helps them strengthen their personal discipline. When meeting them they appear confident and calm. Their habits bring about a coherence & strength through their physical presence.
When structure is absent, most efforts fail. A lot of work can be put in without seeing results. Outcomes are weak or perhaps non-existent, with disappointment and subsequent lack of interest certain.
For there to be structure, you first have to think through what needs to be done. By not considering what you want the result to be but how you are going to get there. Making each step explicit and then figuring out what the next step should be.
From this rough outline, you then need to test each step. See what happens and then adjust. Each time making the steps a little bit stronger until they take hold.
Once you understand the power of structure, you begin to slow down and grasp the desparate need for thinking things through before you start. A lot of money is made by others who impose a structure around our problems.
Diet plans impose a structure around our eating. Personal trainers impose a structure around exercise. Schools impose structure around our learning. Especially when we want to become proficient in an area. They tell us what classes we need to take, and in what order. Training imposes a structure of learning within a work environment. And so on…..
Only architects learn how foundations support physical structures. We were never so lucky. Search for structure first in everything you deem worthwhile to do. Creating structure first will get you there much quicker although it will feel like it is a much slower path to progress.