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Beware of switching lanes in turbulent environments

Beware of switching lanes in turbulent environments

Leaders and members should be wary of adding more change to a rapidly changing situation.

In a turbulent environment with intense volatility, uncertainty, workload, and urgency, it’s important for both leaders and members to stay in their respective lanes and maintain the expected flow of information. In these settings, things are changing so fast that by the time an individual switches back to their assigned tasks, they’ve lost situation awareness and contributed to the chaos and confusion.


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Beware of crossing team boundaries

As teams are increasingly working in more fluid and interconnected multiteam arrangements, it’s common for leaders and members to be tempted to manage the other teams that influence their input or output. 

But it’s unlikely that a team leader will have a detailed enough understanding of the precise situation another team is facing to jump in and immediately lead effectively. It’s even less likely that a member will have sufficient knowledge of both teams’ situations and be able to manage the change in information flows (like who gives directions or who needs to be updated).


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Be sure to update when switching back

Successful lane switching is about more than just knowing when and where it’s okay to switch — what you do as you return to working on your assigned tasks also matters.

As leaders are not yet omniscient, status update check-ins are important, especially in times of change. These check-ins can be done one-on-one or, if the situation is sufficiently stable, take the form of team huddles with rapid-fire status updates.


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