I had a former boss who always had to had a post-mortem examination of events, situations, and scenarios that transpired. With the 20/20 hindsight, you can diagnose so many things that have gone wrong with the purpose to improve it or avoid the more-than-once mistakes, errors, and miscalculations.
This is a great exercise and a good habit to have by executives and managers. No stones unturned. But the best managers and leaders start from a point of preventative rather than having to deal with a fall-out of a bad and terrible event. This is by asking the primarily question: what could have gone wrong in this situation and how can we mitigate the risks? bad weather, last minute cancellations, no-show speakers, bad sound system, missing presentations, etc., etc. The list can go on and on.
Preventative mindset is a proactive approach to ensuring that you have the opportunity to take control of the situation on your own terms, can redirect resources to mitigate them, and then of course, have contingency plans in case the preventative action fails.
In life and business, you can only assume that everything will be alright but that is not the case for reality. You always have to have a back-up plan. There is a great reason for that!
When you work in a bureaucratic organization, it is not about effectiveness, it is about putting more layers and layers of unnecessary tasks without an inch of value or input or significance to the process being performed.
I have seen how two to three clerks get to process one application. Two to three signatories needed in a report. Two to three supervisors to report to and other two to three combinations of divisions working on a special project.
It is not accountability. It is not engagement or participation. It is not even being rigorous or meticulous. It is not about quality at all.
It is bureaucracy in its finest. Waste of ludicrous amount of time, monies, energy, and management. Redundancy, overlaps, and inappropriate controls are enough to get a good employee frustrated and a good manager overworked. The next thing you know they are headed for the exit.
How many paper pushers are there in your organization? Can you count them?
You know the saying from the Bible, "bad company corrupts good character."
Well, I have more permutations along that line.
Bad ideas corrupt good morals.
Bad attitude corrupts good opportunities.
Bad assumptions spoil the relationship.
Bad appearance decreases the restaurant's value.
Bad analysis creates false convictions.
Bad manners dissolve good impression.
Bad customer service leaves money on the table.
Bad boss means high turn-over of staff.
You know the drift, it goes on and on.
If you have a bad input, the output wont be that far behind.
If you can't take the consequences, change now before it's too late.
There is a prevailing misconception that only those that are in Fortune 500 companies have a corporate culture.
Small organizations have culture too. Every organization has culture if its made up of people. People have culture.
Culture is anything that governs behavior. It could be the founding principles, values, beliefs, ethos, and assumptions about the organization. It could be how the Founder thought the business should be. It could be anything that is accepted tacitly but never consciously questioned.
While culture is never stagnant, it could get stale and could be fossilized into something that your organization is fighting against. It could be a tradition devoid of any pragmatic and practical use for the organization. It could be a culture fighting a new strategy that is bent on bringing new and fresh perspective with the way things are done. It could be anything that is made to become the standard of behavior of people in the organization.
Culture cannot be static and immutable. It has to grow and flourish in the service of the company's goals and objectives. It has to be tended as people and culture go along together in creating the best company/organization where people prefer to work, invest, and support through patronage and client loyalty.
Show me your office culture and I will show you who you are!
You are lucky enough to have a job right now!
What does it mean if it comes from a supervisor, boss, manager, or the Head of your department?
Two things come to mind:
1. Better shut up, get to work. Take the job or leave it.
2. Don’t think about making suggestions to improve your work or your work environment. It is what it is.
This is not a very empowering statement. But I heard it from a manager a few years ago. At first, she better be kidding, but yes, it was an opening statement in a meeting with employees in our division. The looming context was a departmental budget cut, possible lay-offs, and a restructuring. But despite the depressing reality at that time, the manager positioned herself defensively by not addressing any question but by simply stating what is to come in a few months. The memo will be sent to those that will be affected by these changes.
People in higher positions saying these are themselves powerless in a bureaucratic organization where the safest bet is to push it down to more powerless people in the organization. It starts from the top.
That being said, if there is no genuine care, concern, and commitment to workers' welfare and well-being, it shows not only in policies but also in language and attitudes of the management.
I have come to understand one thing from that meeting. There is no real progress in a career/ in a work environment where you are made to shut up and just do the job.
I was lucky to leave in five months!
I am popping a lot of bubbles lately.
There is a tendency by the rank-and-file to project a certain aura of greatness about their companies to the point that when the rubber hits the road, tries to defend their stupid policies and procedures and leave the customer wanting to obliterate them out of the face of the earth!
A classic example of a website form that this organization is promoting to spur up public involvement and engagement with their programs. I put out my hand and expressed interest and started engagement. Well, they have a convoluted and archaic policy of internal referrals and Board approvals, aka 'insider trading.' I called the BS and they can't fail not to admit that if they want to remain exclusive at their own peril, they do not have to bother public citizens like us with these fake forms.
Another classic example of that is the fact that organizations whose mandate is to create public engagement end up actually creating exclusionary and elitist programs that bar interested people from actually being able to participate. Who would have thought that entrepreneurial programs espousing the values of community, transparency, collaboration are those that pretty unfriendly to newcomers and new entrants. This perpetuates the old-boys network mentality and creates incestuous relationships amongst actors in the space. Incestuous relationships are very harmful to organizations and individuals. There is no fresh air coming in.
Whether it is from the public and private sector, citizen leaders like us should refuse to accept the BS, call it for what it is, and get the attention of the decision-maker of the organization. Whether it is an airline, a grocery store, a non-profit, a church, or whatever, bad policies, procedures, protocols, or whatever systems have to be resisted with gusto. Organizations that fail to make corrections are set to suffer from many troubles or count their not-so-long shelf lives.