Have you noticed that you are hearing that word a bit more often lately? Of course, it’s one of the things at the top of the list for our government right now. It appears that soon we will be embarking on a massive investment in our infrastructure. Why invest so much money now at such a massive scale? Well, because we need it. Many of the bones of our society – roads, bridges, broadband internet – have been neglected for far too long. In many cases, dangerously long. It’s easy to do. When the bridge feels solid, there is always another problem to demand money and attention. Until it’s an emergency.
I was listening to one of my newsfeeds recently as a reporter was describing some chilling data about failing bridges. It got me thinking about how much trust I am putting in every bridge I ever cross. I rarely think about it. Unless it’s one of those rickety footbridges high above a raging river, I pretty much always just assume a bridge I’m crossing is strong enough to carry me across to the other side. I don’t check to see if there has been a proper investment in it over time. As I listened to the scary report, I thought “it seems like the more you have to trust something, the more you should be willing to invest in it.” I felt annoyed and alarmed by our longtime neglect of these structures. Then I began to think about all the ways this same pattern plays out in my organization and the ones I work with. It occurred to me – this is why investment in people is so darned important. They ARE the infrastructure. We put so much trust in people in our organizations. We have to. I would argue that people are the roads and bridges of our organizations. It’s how ideas, information and solutions travel.
This really got me thinking about what infrastructure means to me. Do we invest in people (and especially leaders) in a way that is commensurate with the amount of trust we put in them to do the right things?
If this thought strikes a cord with you, I thought I’d offer a few questions that I’ve been pondering in hopes that they may be as helpful to you as they have been for me:
- What are the things that provide the infrastructure of my work (and life)?
- What would happen if they failed or disappeared?
- What have I been ignoring or taking for granted?
- How do I currently invest in these things?
- What does “investment” look like?
- How might I want to change how I invest in these things?
These questions have had my head spinning a bit and have led to some glimpses of some aging bridges and roads in my little organization. How about you? What did you notice? Of course, if you’d like to talk about it, I’d love to listen. If you need help with anything, give us a call. We are all in this together.
To a more solid future,