Formed opinions happen all the time. We all walk around everyday setting things, and people, in place. You'd think we're setting the table for dinner. There is a certain level of comfort for humans when they can line things up.
The only problem is formed opinions are often flawed. Sometimes they can be fatally flawed.
When it comes to humans, we need to factor in the dynamic nature of how we're made. People are shaped by a lot more than you can know. And don't make the mistake of thinking a Facebook post is a true representation of the person's heart. Many people are fixated on being "ok." Not many are willing to be truly vulnerable. Living in an age of judgement makes vulnerability a risky proposition.
Organizations are a bit different. Their behaviors are driven almost solely by culture. For example, if the culture is dedicated to serving customers, then that behavior will reign and the formed opinion will follow. I've known more than a few leaders who found this difficult to accept. But in the end, it doesn't matter what your marketing outlets say. It's always about what you do. One last caution, as you form your opinions about organizations (people too):
One event does not make a trend.
As you pay more attention to your formed opinions, remember that humility is a key component in making sure your formed opinions are solid. It's important because when you're wrong you can admit it and when you're right you won't feel the need to prosecute. I throw this your way because we're all limited.
The end of the rainbow is purported to be a really cool place. You know, the pot of gold and all that comes with it. In the U.S. this could be retirement, a relationship, the first big pay-day, or a position/title. Ironic how those things are often the objects of our desire.The problem lies in the lies of chasing down a rainbow to get to something that was intended to only be a by-product. In other words, I get a great relationship when I invest myself in the work of being in a relationship.
I know I'm not alone in feeling like time moves at a pace that only an olympic sprinter could relate to. I'm prone to the minor key, so a little sadness follows me in this reality. But I've discovered something important.
The end of the rainbow is not the point.
What matters is what happens between the beginning of the rainbow and the end. Any other approach will lead you to a disappointing place. The pot of gold is found in the in-between. And, yes, I know you've heard this before. But I'm a living example of the truth found in a somewhat worn idea.
Here's a warning I hope you'll take seriously. Remember what I said above about the lies? Many miss this on multiple fronts, but if you're not careful you'll blindly follow the dogma and lies of a world that's lost its mind. Don't let them be an investor in your own personal prison.
Before you utter a word, think about where it will take you. I'm speaking of further up the road. This is a piece of real estate known as intent.
And even though we find ourselves in a culture that gives you room to be mostly honest, don't buy it. This is important.
Our words always reveal something deeper. Don't think you can utter any word you like and not have it be a part of who you are.
See the opportunity?
I don't desire the end of Wall Street or capitalism in general. The protests happening in NYC got me thinking. I heard an interview last evening with a successful wealth creator, who discussed the the difference between an entrepreneur and an opportunist (gambler in many respects). If I may paraphrase, he said that entrepreneurs create something and thereby create wealth for many. The opportunists primarily seek to enrich themselves or a few only.
I don't want to overstate my opinion on the impact of power and greed, but those two cousins have often been left unchecked in our world today. I'm not talking about passing a law to stop them. But I would like to see the culture of our businesses and the schools address power and greed for what they are. More progress would come if we stopped ignoring it.
Many an organization (profit and non-profit) have entered into something with good intentions, only to find themselves the slave to a hideous master. Namely, power and greed. Never forget that power and greed are living, breathing things. They have a desire to rule you and the culture (work, politics, etc.). The question is whether you will let it and what will you do to control it.
Has anyone in your organization ever sat down with you and discussed how to handle power and greed, before there was a problem? I often wonder that about Wall Street and those who lead there. If you're a part of most organizations the answer is no. I think its important enough to evaluate and discuss, considering how impactful it is on other human beings.
The need for solving problems seems so obvious in our current environment. But I'm amazed how far away that concept is for many. Whether it's the job hunter or the board member of a non-profit, it seems like the idea of solving problems is rather foreign. Now, I know we talk a lot about solving problems, but I'm referring to the talking and the doing. I know this is hard to do in my country. We've gotten a little soft on real problem solving. Many are still operating as if we were still in the industrial age.
There needs to be a changing of the lens we use. So put on a different pair of glasses and build the habit of being a problem solver. You'll be glad you did, and so will the people and organizations waiting for your solutions.
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.
Sometimes those involved in people leadership are like those in social media consulting, it seems like everyone thinks they can do it. But, alas, not everyone can. There are numerous people out there who have scars to prove my point. This is a problem.
I came across this post from Ed Batista, someone who has encouraged and informed me, that speaks to leaders who have an arsenal of corrupt instincts. These types of leaders act on their stressed and vitriol emotions. Not unlike the spoiled child who always threatens to take his bat on home if you don't play by his pre-set rules.
I won't give away Ed's insights, but I will give you some insights on what you must do in order to keep your heart and mind from being trampled upon-in any organization. Here are some things to consider:
- If you work for a leader that exhibits corrupt instincts, then get out! I know the economy might be bad, I know you may be a year away from vesting, you might even be in denial about what the future will look like if you don't do something. Regardless, leadership can be a very negative thing and they don't call it influence for nothing.
- If you will set aside the stars in your eyes from the interview, you might be able to get a clue about the organization's culture. In other words, does the organization condone and create conditions for corrupt instincts? Investigate, Investigate, Investigate!
- Start living on less. Forget about the new 5 Series from BMW, start putting more money back, or get out of debt. You may be working for angels today, but things can change and the demons are always at the gate. Be prepared to protect your soul.
- Don't go on any journey of awakening (seeing what wasn't evident before) alone.
- This process will cost you. But in the end, you'll be able to look back and know it was worth it. Like me, you could lose your career and find your life. Pretty cool in the end.