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This past week, my office pack moved to a new location since we’d outgrown the old one. The last time we moved was in late 2013, but the two experiences couldn’t have been more different.

Moving always has the potential to be traumatic and I’m sure that all of us have been through a move where we’ve had that moment of panic: “Why do I have so much stuff? I’ll never be ready in time!”

That’s what happened in 2013, and most of the staff spent two weeks telecommuting because things weren’t ready. This time around, it was entirely different — the gap was less than a day, when we moved the computer server. So, what made the difference this time?  Learning the difference between quantity and quality.

Ironically, the problem in 2013 was that we had too many Pack Leaders in charge of the move. There’s an old expression — “many hands make light work” — which seemed to make sense at the time. We had a lot to prepare and move, so the more people in charge of it the better, or so we thought.

One person was in charge of dealing with the movers, and another worked with the new landlords. A third planned who would wind up where in the new space, and a fourth dealt with all of the wiring necessary for our network and phones. Someone else worked with the staff on planning the packing and moving, and another worked on setting up our new warehouse.

It looked like everything was covered and it was going to be smooth sailing — except that by having everyone focus on their own area, we forgot the most important part. Everything had to work together smoothly.

Once the move began, it turned into a comedy of errors. The end result was that nobody could actually work in the place for two weeks after the date we were supposed to have been moved in.

This reminded me of a common problem I see with families that have dogs. All of the humans agree to be Pack Leaders, and they even understand what the concept means — but then they fail to sit down and agree upon a common set of rules, boundaries, and limitations.

So… Mom is great about keeping the dog off the sofa and correcting her when she barks, but also sneaks her treats when she’s cooking. Dad is also great at the barking correction, but chases the dog out of the kitchen whenever he cooks and always lets her on the sofa. The daughter never corrects the barking and is inconsistent in giving treats in the kitchen or when the dog can be on the sofa. The son doesn’t enforce any of the rules but he does take the dog on long walks twice every day.

The dog happens to have four Pack Leaders, but they’re all leading her in different directions, so the end result is confusion and chaos. Basically, it doesn’t matter whether everyone in the household is providing some kind of leadership if they’re not all enforcing the same rules. It isn’t quantity of pack leadership that matters, but quality.

Sometimes, the only way to take control is by letting go, which was the lesson we learned with the move this time around. Now, there was only one person in charge of the move — our “packing leader,” if you will — and when we all finally came to the new space, everyone was unpacked and settled in on our first full day.

So if you can’t have every leader in your pack on the same page, the only solution may be for all of the humans but one to give up the role. Not to say that the other humans are suddenly the dog’s equal — just that only one human should be in charge of the dog. Like any important job, sometimes the more complicated it seems the simpler the solution is.

Stay calm and keep it simple!

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