Fence-sitters and pretenders are scared people. They refuse to be involved or pretend to be involved but never to the scale that most people who are committed would. They ruin the possibilities for organizations because they not only favor the status quo but also block meaningful efforts to create waves and progress for the organization.
When you have fence sitters and pretenders, they sit on the sidelines, ensuring that things would hopefully get bad so they can pat themselves in the back and say, "see I told you guys, it wont work because....." There are too many people like that who refuse to be accountable for their actions and how it is affecting the whole organization.
If you are the manager, supervisor, or the boss of the company, make no mistake, these kinds of people are creating the kind of climate that do not serve the purpose of the business and ruin it all for everybody.
Don't put a decaying apple with the rest of the bunch. You know what will happen.
What is the most scary is when these people govern the organization and things are stalled for no logical reason than to protect what is expedient and 'normally done around here." First, they can't lead. Second, because they can't lead they micromanage. And third, they think they are being effective worst, being serving the organization well.
The good and bright people should muster the courage to step up to the plate and either eliminate or dilute the damage that these pretenders can inflict the organization. Ultimately, they should be caught and be rid of.
Is there any thing that you need to do less of, or stop doing completely?
Instead of putting more stuff on your plate, reflect on what you can get rid of it, literally in your closet or in your life.
A few examples:
1. Too much time watching TV, social media, or games watching
2. Researching and looking but never buying
3. Making excuses not to accomplish or complete an action, task, or project
4. Being overcritical but not committing to anything
5. Complaining on things that you cannot control
6. Taking on too much at one time
7. Not being able to say No! when it is more appropriate
8. Walk away from people or events that do no good to your life
9. Less time planning, more time doing things you love to do in the moment
10. Pleasing people to get their favor or sympathy
How about you? What are the elements in your life that needs to be trimmed or totally abandoned and forsaken? Find it out and have a clean slate for 2019.
Time and time again, this one is very true.
Show up and deliver. Always be ready to take the opportunity that is presented regardless whether it is the right time, place, or scenario. An opportunity is some times disguised as something else.
Showing up means taking action, making commitments, and securing engagements with people that you think will help get you to the next level. It doesn't matter whether it results in a small incremental step. Those steps will add up and will lead to sizable progress cumulatively.
Showing up means taking the courage, while you don't see the big picture, the answer to the problem, or the complete information. It doesn't negate the fact that you showed up, made the effort, and seize the day.
Deliver, when nobody is reading, nobody is listening, nobody seems to care. Deliver consistently, with passion, with love and care as you put your products out, let the world know this is not about the popularity, the number of likes, the retweets, and the instant fame. It is about your message, your story, your contribution. It is about how you relate to your community, your family, and the world.
Showing up ever ready to take the challenges of the day will create the attitude and the frame of mind to move beyond obstacles, whether imagined or not, and will expand your reference of what you-can do!
You need an energizer or icebreaker in meetings.
It cuts the precious time for substantive issues that are needed to be discussed in the meeting. Who has a lot of time to sit down in meetings that take quite a long time to get to the real issues?
Mothers know best.
Not really. At a certain point, mothers gradually relinquish that role of a know-it-all and respect the independence of their children.
Volunteer first before you can get a job in the organization.
Not true. If you want to volunteer, fine, but keep your expectations real. Sometimes, it is not going to happen in a million years.
Opportunity comes knocking once.
Not true. Opportunity is ever present in many things. Our challenge is to enhance our ability to see opportunities disguised as something else.
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Not true. People spent thousands of dollars on book covers alone. We judge things by the cover/appearance.
Early bird gets the worm.
It doesn’t follow. Some early birds get eaten because they are too early for the event.
Not anymore. The society and its expectations about reward and recognition fall on those able to become a real asset to the organization, not just those who have been loyal but utterly useless.
There are many clichés about many things. Take time to analyze that they are not truths but sometimes meant to be excuses not to improve the situation.
I have sat in numerous collectives, coalitions, and partnership-based initiatives for many years. And while I have seen the great benefits of collaboration work, I also cringed at some of the dysfunction manifested in the name of collaboration. Here are some of the few observations around collaboration that show how conflicting motives can hijack its value.
· Some collectives are not collaboration at all. Some are pseudo-collaborations when they appear in the guise of collaboration but are not. Partnerships that are by nature tactical, one-off, short-term do not have to be labeled collaboration. It is a mere partnership for a specific set of projects, initiatives, and agenda. Collaboration focuses on long-term strategic objectives that no one organization can boast to overcome or solve. For example, eradicating poverty, homelessness, etc.
· For one, when collaboration leads to co-dependencies between organizations, using collaboration partners to fill their capacity deficits and further discourage the organization from actually investing on specific organizational and technical capacity-building because they can get it ‘free’ through collaboration. It sounds pernicious, but this practice is very common. For example, the convenor will set up a research collective in the hope that the agenda, framework, and technical skills-set drawn from the group-those thing that they lack and cannot do on their own.
· When the convenor abdicates on its responsibilities to the whole group and delegates all the decision making, it makes the group more responsible than they should be. For example, a convenor who is legally responsible for setting the collaboration, having funding to administer and support it, abdicates its leadership role to the Chair, Vice Chair or certain organizations to decide on issues related to its functions.
· The role of the convenor is very tricky. The people in the group look to the convenor for guidance, inspiration, and smooth administration, as well as leadership. When there is no leader or sets of leaders in the group performing complementary functions, it begets the question: who is calling the shots here? How can the decision-makers contain risks in their decision-making?
· Supposedly the risks are shared equally by the whole group, but in fact, risks are shared by those who get to do more work for the group. Leaving some to do less while the rest of the group do more than what they bargained for. Studies show that the larger the group, slackers tend to arise and create more work for others.
· There seems to be no clarity why organizations and individuals are sitting on these groups and committees regarding their motivation and ‘what’s in it for them?” It is very rare when people get honest about it. Is it to get more funding? More prestige? Getting capacity when there is none in your organization? Is it for a good reputation? Is it because it aligns to your organizations’ purpose? Is it because you get more than you put in? Is it because it is easy to sit in without having more responsibilities? Being honest and candid about what you want out of these collaborations will give you an assessment in whether or not it is the right fit for your interests and motivations. It also gives everyone on the table an idea how these interests align with the groups’ aims.
· Simply getting what you want and offering to help is not the answer. Collaboration is not just the sum of all efforts if everyone likes what is going on. Any time, partners can pull out and say “we are not part of this,” because it happens more than you think. The self-interest is too high on the agenda to make it work for the group. Sacrificing your own organization’s self-interest for the collective common good may create a little discomfort or moderate pain as part of the equation, not a lot are prepared or have contemplated this. Ask yourself is being part of the collective enhances your ability to forge common agenda and interests or in short-term merely responding to your needs.
These and many more have become perplexing dilemmas. When everyone extols the values of collaboration, the practice of collaboration is nowhere near as impact-full and effectiveness as it should be. And everybody wonders why.
A few self-assessment questions will get you thinking about your role in the collaboration framework.
1. Have you clarified, explained, and demonstrated your motivation, interests, and organizational aims as part of the group?
2. Have you expressed the opinions, perspectives, and challenges that you face as part of the collective and understood each partner’s interests and motivations?
3. Have you benefited more than what you are intending to gain as part of the group or vice-versa ( meaning put more than what you expected to contribute?)
4. Have you contributed to advancing the collective good which you would not directly benefit as an organization but committed to doing it anyway?
Let us analyze; if you answer 4 out of 4, then it means that you understand the importance of honesty, candor, and exhibiting a certain level of vulnerability to achieve common goals, that at some point, will cause discomfort or pain to your organization. If you answer yes to 2-3 questions, you have a certain level of understanding of your role but not taking a proactive stance to the issues you are facing as part of the group. If you answer yes to 1, there is a great room to improve in your standing and perception of how collaboration works, gravitating on passivity, dependency, or confusion within your role in the group and vice versa.
Unraveling these issues is the start of empowering your position within a collaboration framework. It does not mean that you will not fail, it means that you can go back up again and revisit those thorny issues that get in the way of effective teaming up for success. The right frame of mind, expectations, and contributing attitude can set your organization up for greater collective impact.
We have a friend that is bemoaning his fate. Wanting to go to medical school, he was discouraged by the quota system that favored more women than men and ethnic minorities than from Caucasian background.
Well, for one, you can’t blame the ethnic minorities who are immigrants for this treatment. They came without no network, no recognized credentials, no language skills, no schools or professors that can support them, no neighbors, no coaches, no extended relatives, no government subsidies, not a lot of friends in high places, literally not a lot. But they are doing their best to get the education, jobs, and lifestyle they want in Canada proving that they can make it here in their new country. If you think this is unfair, it wasn’t a level playing field, to begin with.
This excuse cannot fly in the midst of a lot of successful people that went on to medical school and got their degrees and become full-fledged doctors! The quota system, the high tuition fees, the grueling apprenticeship, and the initial practice can break your resolve, but there is no such thing as get-successful quick.
I say it to young people. If the doors are not open for you, try the door at the back. Try the next door that is open. Try the door on the side. Try different ways to get into the building. It can take time, but with creativity, planning, and lots of support, you can figure out a way to get connected, one door at a time.