Merge's Blog

When things are out of control, are they really?

controlSome things are entirely and wholly out of my control.  Severe weather, for example.  I cannot effect change in the weather.  Whether it’s a sweltering heatwave, a blinding snowstorm, or a stormy hurricane, I can’t make the weather calamity go away, no matter how hard I try.

But, on the other hand, there are plenty of things I can do to control how I react and respond to harsh weather.  I can seek out a cooler environment (inside an air-conditioned shopping mall for example), delay my road-trip to future date to avoid wintry driving conditions, or gather essential documents and supplies as I evacuate to safer ground.  Instead of complaining about the effects of severe weather, I can choose to take thoughtful actions to avoid, or at least, mitigate the damage.

Just because we can’t control the situation doesn’t mean we can’t influence the outcome

There are a myriad of events in our lives that are outside our sphere of control.  But that doesn’t mean that we can’t influence the final outcome.  We can always take deliberate and conscious actions to alleviate, or even sidestep, unfortunate consequences.

I cannot control when staff members call in sick.  But I can ensure that enough staff are cross-trained in different responsibilities.  I cannot control shortages in my raw materials.  But I can keep abreast of changes in supply and if I need to, stockpile inventories.  I cannot control the interest rate.  But I can negotiate favourable financial terms when economic conditions are good.  You get the idea.

Are you complaining and whining about the environmental factors in your workplace that are outside your control?  Or are you taking thoughtful actions to prepare for the worst and allay the damages?  I would love to hear from you.

P.S. I wrote a post in a similar vein back in October 15 – Maintaining your composure – do you react or respond?  You might find it interesting.


  • What if I can’t control when staff members call in sick and I cannot ensure that enough staff are cross-trained in different responsibilities because there aren’t enough staff and there are too many responsibilities?
    This doesn’t do deep enough.

    • Hi Sandy, yes, I agree, this post wasn’t in-depth. And you are right in that the solution to the problem you’ve outlined isn’t simple. My point is that we can’t control whether employees call in sick, but IF we have control over anything, it’s that we can look for ways cross-train our people so that the impact of absenteeism is mitigated. The issue that the workload is too much already is BIG … and it needs to be addressed … but differently. That’s where it’s up to us as leaders to build the case and negotiate for the resources we need (or for the workload to be reduced). Which of course is a different subject. Happy to discuss this latter issue with you further if you want to reach out to me via the contact information here at our website.


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