Johnnie Moore

Difficult and interesting

What could happen if we let go of the idea that teamwork should be easy?
Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

on leaning into difficult challenges in teams

Transcript of this video:

I’ve noticed this year that when friends ask me about some of the work I’ve been doing, I’ve been saying more and more often that it was difficult, but interesting.

It actually has been quite a good summary of a lot of the things that I’ve been doing, because I’ve noticed things have not gone entirely to plan.

So for example, I might use a process that I’m very familiar with and find it produces a somewhat unexpected outcome, and that it runs more stickily, I suppose, than I’m used to.

And I feel anxious during those times that it’s not working quite quite right as I say to myself at the time, although, you know, thinking of that specific incident, it actually eventually became quite an interesting conversation, although it was uncomfortable for me at times.

And when I look back on those projects, the discomfort soon passes and it’s replaced by curiosity and creativity.

I start to think, oh, I wonder what happened there. I wonder if there’s a way I could do that slightly differently next time.

It raises my level of alertness. It makes me appreciate the aliveness of the meeting that I’ve come out of.

And a wise friend also suggested that I might want to say difficult *and*
nteresting because these things often are not opposites.

They frequently go together and I’m actually practicing saying I want work to be difficult and interesting. There’s a small part of me would secretly prefer it, of course, to be easy.

But I’m training myself not to, not to go with that urge. To actually be increasingly open to difficulty.

And I think that, effective teams are better at engaging with difficult things, not expecting them to be simple and easy, but to do the work that’s necessary to get somewhere more challenging.

I sometimes call that a kind of combat bonding.

I think that can be much more powerful than doing a somewhat idealised team building activity. And you know,

I think here in the West we work in a kind of context of a consumer society where a lot of the messages we are sitting and watching while we’re watching our TV shows are emphasising the idea that life and happiness should be convenient and easy and smooth.

But I increasingly want to embrace the idea that some friction and some effort and some work is required to create, I would say greater and – dare I say – more real satisfaction.

So I’m gonna be leaning into saying I want work that is difficult and interesting for a while. And, I’ll keep you posted.


Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

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