A couple of weeks ago, we ended up watching some snippets of the famous "Sound of Music" film. My 3-year old daughter couldn't be helped but started singing the songs. I grew up with this film too like many millions of children worldwide.
Being the highest-grossing film of all time, it transcended time, culture, and boundaries and spoke universally to all. Yet, there were definite strategic departures from the real lives of the Von Trapp family.
-They didn't escape from the Nazis as depicted: they boarded a train instead
-Maria was not in love with the Captain;
-There were 10 children but only 7 when they left Austria;
-The Austrians didn't recognize edelweiss as a national flower and so on and so forth.
These ensure that the film is as marketable as possible with the broadest audience particularly, families and children. It was an astounding success in all counts, but the public wasn't really aware and able to distinguish between fact and fiction. To this day, we relished with the saccharine story oblivious to the facts, the former, unfortunately shaping public consciousness up to this day.
Decision-making as we all know, calls for the careful examination of facts to arrive at an outcome that is amenable to all parties concerned. But when the facts that we know were half-truths, the thinking process will be flawed and at worst, the findings will be suspect. When assumptions are not tested and challenged, we go by popular vote or consensus because that is politically correct; we missed out on what provocation and challenge could produce-a deep appreciation of the issues and a more strategic approach to getting to solutions.
The sad reality is the facts are fodders for fiction and fiction mimics reality. But make no mistake, triple-check your facts, weigh in on the evidence, and then move to create a compelling case that eliminates the tendency to do more research or other unnecessary steps.
We cannot be overburdened by what the society wants us to do, what the school or the future work sector we want to work for wants us to be, or the future employer we are targeting wants us to have. Amazon didn't even ask us, the consumers if we want to buy things online. They just did it!
The industry data and the employer preferences are mere signals, either we can allow it to shape our actions or allow ourselves the latitude to create our own path way. Organizations with boiler-plate plans, visions, and mission statements are suffering from lack of originality for the sake of being in the 'in' group. This is at the expense of their own business value.
Use your best judgement knowing that you have these data in front of you and can have more data if you so choose. There will be more data by the way I end this blog!
I was in an Advanced Data Analysis course last year and it made me more assured that data will not make us think better. It will make us think less! It is us, humans who will interpret and use the data to have a best-guess of what is to come.
We have our senses, our experiences, and life-long learning, and appreciation for practicality to guide us. Before AI and machine learning, we used a lot of those and our wisdom carried us through. Now, there is so much noise we can't have the silence we need to think and meditate on our situations.
Do we want data to do the thinking for us or give the data its rightful place- as part of the tools in our modern toolkit?
If you stop assigning blame, instead finding the cause and then finding the right solution, then the organization or your life will be in much better shape.
It's not your boss' fault.
Everyone in the organization can make a difference and can play a vital role in keeping everyone accountable, responsible, responsive, and connected.
Holding one responsible for the culture, success, failure, or missteps of the organization is too unfair.
Yes, there are paid employees but at the end of the day, there is no culture, success, failure, or misstep that is brought about by a lone gun man. There is no higher power conspiring against you either.
What can you do right now to make your workplace (change it if you want) better than it was yesterday?
Do your part!
Don't let a dramatic event stop your tracks before you get the lessons learned or get the message.
Improve your value and organizational value rapidly by cutting off the status quo that no longer serves your mission, purpose, and strategies.
It is easy to be riding on the waves when the economy is on an upswing, everyone likes the ride up there, the air is thin but fresh.
When the economy tanks out, everyone thinks about cutting their losses and downsizing to manageable levels.
It is time to stop reacting to world events, economic catastrophes, outside offers, and deals. It is time to start innovating and building a better base for tomorrow by thinking for the future, not for the past and the present. It will be stale by the time you launch it.
Remember- stop waiting for a dramatic event. By that, it means one thing- you are being let go and the organization has suffered more to deserve a radical shakedown.
This is not about the legal profession or how the justice works in this country.
The reason for this metaphor is that some organizations refuse to become more accountable by having structures and systems in place that will permit more accountability, shared responsibility, greater transparency, thus creating a better managed entity. This is good for the shareholders, stakeholders, partners, clients, customers, staff, suppliers, contractors, donors, funders, collaborators, and other constituencies outside the inner circle of influence. This is good for reputation, image, credibility, integrity, and being trusted is always the best compliment.
There is the ideal checks and balance approach to ensuring that those who are in positions of power share the burden of decision-making, risks management, financial management, oversight with a committee duly elected/nominated to carry the responsibilities. There is a balance of power in a sense that no one person or group holds enough sway that could tip the organization to undesirable direction.
There are powerful clichés within organizations that tend to overrule the rest who are the 'silent majority.' Sometimes, they are the ruling minority and with that being said, can create move havoc than anticipated. For clichés to proliferate, there is an ideal environment for it. Sounds familiar?
When there are no clear accountabilities, lines of responsibility, agreed-upon performance evaluation, sound rewards and demerits, shared power structure, things can go sideways any time.
When one person becomes the proverbial judge, jury, and executioner, don't expect much from the organization that's only intention is to survive any coup d'etats or hostile takeovers. Or even yet, wait until the founder dies.
Leaders like parents would say "Do what I say, not what I do."
The behavior of the leader will be the litmus test whether he/she will be believed and followed by his/her subordinates.Words don't mean a thing.
While some CEOs have a sort of veneer of respectability over their persona, what matters at the end of the day, is that they are present (not absentee) leader, one that people will follow, believe, and will trust to direct them to a new direction in the organization, and has the interests of the organization at heart.
One of the loyal Marcos henchmen during the martial law was asked by President Marcos to jump out of the building. The henchman said, 'from which floor, sir!" This sounded like a joke but this rings true today.
Loyalty and faith in the leader can come from the relationship that the leaders had forged. It cannot be just about promotions, favors, and any other externalities.
Are you creating and forging real and trust-based relationship with your followers? Have you demonstrated enough integrity, commitment, and above-board excellence that they can trust and believe in you to light the way forward?