The following post was written almost 4 years ago. Ironically, the problem still persists inside of my friend's organization. I know you may be wondering how this organization manages to stay in the game. I won't wast precious space on all of the reasons, but one reason is they're in a hot market. Sadly, hot markets can be like ether to organizations and they come and go. Regardless, it was sobering to read and update this post.
I talked to a friend this week about how her company is facing a crisis of identity. Their crisis is not a marketing one, but an internal sales vs. operations one. Ever heard of it?
Many companies deal with the following:
- What area is most important sales or ops.
- Areas (sales, ops., customer service, etc.) that create their own fiefdoms.
- Top management that is unable or unwilling to be clear.
- Conflict avoidance.
- No programs for people development.
The above is not an exhaustive list, but covers some key areas of stress. In many cases the organization has allowed the weeds to overtake the garden. Meaning; there is one vision and all must serve that vision. Anything less results in a culture full of dysfunction.
I recommend the following:
- Change the culture or change the culture.
See this article on how Apple values their culture. As you may have guessed, taking responsibility for your culture is paramount.
I've taught people about the idea of "doing" what makes you come alive many times in my work. You've either witnessed it in other people or discovered it within yourself. Regardless, it's priceless and leaves a mark on you.
A couple of weeks ago I went to a florist in my city to buy my wife flowers. I went to this small business because a couple of friends had just purchased it and I wanted to give them my business.
When I walked in I greeted Amy and congratulated her on the purchase and asked her how things were going. She talked about the various marketing ideas she had, the changes to the look and feel of the store that were to come and how crazy things were going into the Valentines Day holiday. But there was one thing she said that left a big mark on me. The following are her words:
"When I'm in the back working on arrangements, that's my place, that's my time to be."
Here's what I learned, and am still learning, from her words:
- Knowing who you are versus who you are not makes a big difference.
- Epic Living is defined by the individual and looks different for each person.
- Our Life is screaming out to us to pay attention.
- You have to have the vision, the willingness to act and the patience to experience your dreams.
- Entrepreneurism is a road filled with opportunity and risk.
- Doing a work that requires you to show up is essential.
- It's very important to listen to the stories of others.
I'm sure there's more I could add to the list, but we all can utter the words Amy did if we truly are willing to go on the journey. It's my life's work to help you.
In my early days of musicianship (I'm still a musician) I really become fond of improvisation. There was something magnetic about creating without a "script." Not to mention, when you had to make a change because the performance demanded it.
This post came to me from Rose over at BSchool.com. It's an extensive list of why improv matters in your business life. I think it's also applicable to your personal life too.
If I had one piece of advice to give a new manager/leader in a corporate environment, it would be the following:
Pour your heart, skills and strengths into followers who have the greatest potential to follow even after your title is nothing but a memory.
If you do the above, you will be an authentic leader who has authentic followers-for the rest of your days.
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What if you're the guy or gal who has decided to embrace change, even if you're not sure what that change may bring? I applaud you if you are. It's healthy and the life you want is paved with your willingness to move forward.
How about those that decide not to go with you? Not a huge deal when it's the co-worker who likes to gossip or the brother-in-law that seems to think he has the best plan for your life. But when it's someone you love or someone you call a friend it can stop you in your steps. You might even think about going back to Egypt. A place you think, even if it was miserable, as a safer bet with no resistance.
From my own experience it is never easy to change. And conversly it is not easy for those that are watching or playing a part in your motion picture-your life. Your changes may be a source of discomfort, construed as a violation of a committment you supposedly made, or like the fool who believes only the stuff flowing through their head, you refuse to be the person they define you to be.
Here's what I've done so far to manage what others may not see on my journey:
- Let go.
- Open my eyes up so that I can see new friends (thank you Marc, Ed, Anna, Mike).
- Give those who are trying to stick with you a chance(s). Not everyone moves at the same pace, but they must be moving.
- Remember, the world need the person you're becoming.
- Don't expect applause, don't think you can change people, and it accept that some relationships were intended for only a season.