People are Messy

By Brad Lantz, Inner Circle Twin Cities

Everyone who has reared children knows that it is a messy job! They leave their finger or handprints on almost anything we do not want them to. They act in public like barbarians that are storming the castle and speak in a voice, well suffice it to say is not their “inside” voice. So I find it interesting that leaders of organizations expected that it would be different in creating and building the culture of their company.

One leader said, “Why can’t they (their people) grow up and act like adults? My mother ran a daycare facility and those kids were better behaved than my employees! They are not accountable, have little innovation and stand around talking rather than giving me their 40 hours”.

Many of these same owners are the same people who gripe about their client relationships. “Clients can’t live with them, can’t live without them.”  To which Ayn Rand stated: “I don’t build in order to have clients. I have clients in order to build.”

McKinsey in their article “Look both inward and outward” suggests:

Companies that only look outward in the process of organizational change—marginalizing individual learning and adaptation—tend to make two common mistakes. 

The first is to focus solely on business outcomes. That means these companies direct their attention to what is referred to as the “technical” aspects of a new solution, while failing to appreciate what they call “the adaptive work” people must do to implement it.

The second common mistake, made even by companies that recognize the need for new learning, is to focus too much on developing skills. Training that only emphasizes new behavior rarely translates into profoundly different performance outside the classroom.

Their research and client experience suggest that half of all efforts to transform organizational performance fail either because senior managers don’t act as role models for change or because people in the organization defend the status quo…. Equally, the same McKinsey research indicates that if companies can identify and address pervasive mind-sets at the outset, they are four times more likely to succeed in organizational-change efforts than are companies that overlook this stage.

As a leader what are we to do?

  1. Consider that it is how you respond to what happens to you that determines your experience.
  2. Consider that you are the one to choose whether you want to engage or entertain almost all situations. Think of this in regard to your open door policy. Employees are drawn to your open door rather than truly bring issues that you need to be involved in they come to chat or reinforce something they already know. They are interrupting your workflow and their own.
  3. Consider taking responsibility for YOUR personal actions or non-actions and how helps others to see what excellence really is.
  4. Lastly, consider if you have an internal determination and give your best, no matter what others say or what they understand.

Messy people are messy for a reason, is it lack of leadership?