It's discouraging to work tirelessly on solving what you think is an important issue and nothing happens.
There are a lot of reasons why good ideas never get adopted. Sometimes they're not critical to the organization's goals, require too many resources or scare the managerial keepers of the status quo.
But there's another reason that's rarely acknowledged: we're trying to solve the wrong problem.
Too often we go after creating tactical solutions -- new systems, processes, behavioral ways to do the work -- when the real problem is an underlying belief or mindset issue. Like what happened in this story, which I'm kind of reluctant to share, but here it is. (Read more)
Change the language of change
While visiting London Carmen met a friend and fellow Rebel consultant Mark Foden.
Naturally the conversation turned to the two hot political topics in our respective countries: President Trump and Brexit. Mark suggested that often the metaphors we use create problems and misperceptions about issues. In the case of Brexit, for example, Mark noted that everyone talked about Brexit and the EU using the metaphor of entry and exit. Do we stay or do we go? Are we in or are we out?
This language simplifies the issue. It's no easy thing for any country to leave the EU. It's not as straightforward as opening a door to leave a room. Mark suggested instead that a better metaphor, a better image might have been replanting a large tree that has grown for many years in the woods. It's no simple thing to disentangle its roots from all the other trees. You cannot avoid causing some damage to all the trees that have grown together.
It's useful to think about the language we use when we lobby for improvement in our organizations. The language of "change" seems inadequate, sterile. We are not changing our clothes, a tire, or the linen. Instead, we are embarking on a process of growth, transformation, and perhaps even uprooting and replanting. Don't all of us feel that the language of organizational change has become boring, stale, and perhaps not even truthful?
Here's an exercise for you. Redo all your rebel presentations without once using the word "change". Avoid as much as possible Powerpoint Prose and use instead words that describe natural processes--growth, emergence, decay, rebirth. It's Spring after all! The Rebel Season!"
Rebels in Government!
These are difficult times for civil servants. Some have asked us to reflect on what advice Rebels at Work has for federal employees.
We offer the following dos and don’ts with a big dose of humility and an even bigger degree of caution. I imagine that everyone will find our advice to be unsatisfactory to some degree: We don’t go far enough or we go way too far. But somewhere along the way we hope our readers will find at least one tidbit that helps them.
DO'S Do Sharpen your Bureaucratic Skills. If there’s a time to get smart about how bureaucracies work, now is it. Whenever there is a new administration, incoming political appointees try to enact procedures without sufficient regard for or even knowledge of existing laws and regulations. It’s the DUTY of civil servants, of legacy staff to point out the landmines. Ill-conceived government actions make the US Government vulnerable to lawsuits and public ridicule. They also have the potential to weaken our democracy. (Read more)
Disturbed: The Sound of Silence
We find this song more relevant than ever, particularly the rendition by Disturbed.
Another reason leaders should listen to their Rebels
Rebels at Work Master Class: Center for Collaborative Leadership: May 10, Boston
We'll be leading a one-day Master Class at the University of Massachusetts' Center for Collaborative Leadership on May10 in Boston. Registration is open to all. More details can be found here. What you'll learn:
Why and how to “read” the organizational environment so that you can more easily navigate politics, build support and position new ideas
Your top intrinsic personality strengths and how to use them to overcome obstacles and find more meaning in your work
How to position and communicate new ideas so they get attention and gain support
How to deal with common energy vampires -- like difficult conversations and resistance to new approaches -- so that your ideas move forward vs. getting derailed
Ways to build your resiliency so that you’re able to recover from setbacks, persevere amidst bureaucracy, and create a sense of well-being for yourself and your teammates
I love the sunshine in late February, reminding me that beginnings keep happening and that starts are often gentle and quiet.
Keep your face up to the soft sun to know that something is emerging.