Some may think I get cranky because I’m out of estrogen – oh no my friends, no. I got cranky long before my hormones became an acceptable excuse. In fact, it’s entirely possible that my crankiness was the catalyst for my body’s ensuing wackiness. It got tired of me railing at some of the more inexplicable, passive choices we make on a daily basis in the name of ‘doing our best’.
“Mediocrity is climbing mole hills without sweating” – Icelandic proverb
How much do we do just to get by? How often do we attach the Velcro to the back of our hand, affix it to our forehead and sigh “I just can’t do one more thing?” (insert a consumptive cough here if you feel it will add to the drama). How frequently do we invoke the words of some enthusiastic coach (“You can do it! There’s no ‘I’ in ‘TEAM’!”) and act like an over-burdened pack mule? And how quickly do we accept the status quo just because it’s easier.
Avidly pursuing LinkedIn chats, lobbing an occasional question on Twitter, reading the articles in journals written by and for business professionals – I see the same thing. We are challenging ourselves to climb mole hills. Do we keep re-hashing the same topics because we can’t take one more thing and feel that at the least we’re sharing ‘execu-speak’? To take a line from Joan Rivers – “can we talk?”
Let’s go with some assumptions already – it’s time. Everyone, on three – get out of your comfort zone and let’s start feeling a little itchy together.
Assumption 1 – If you don’t know how to effectively listen, engage and collaborate with other people, hear disparate views and opinions and encourage that kind of communication, then go back to square 1, don’t collect $200 and consider yourself very lucky that you’ve gotten this far without developing a critical foundation upon which to grow your career and your relationships.
Assumption 2 – If you are truly of the view that as the leader of your department, company, silo, etc your perspective is the only perspective with any merit – see number 1. Bill Welch was a bastard and prided himself on being a bully, but when someone had the mettle to challenge him, he gave them a shot.
Assumption 3 – If you’re doing the same thing you did last year, let me remind you that Groundhog Day was a movie, not a lifestyle. If your people are doing what they did last year, then they are doing less than they did last year – and that’s on you.
Assumption 4 – Not everything is confidential, even though it may be very exciting (and sometimes necessary) to create an ‘inner circle’. The values of your department need to be shared. The future career strategies for your people need to be discussed and developed with your people, not in a soliloquy you engage in on your way to work. If you dig the whole bureaucratic, layer-upon-layer thing – fine. I’m just saying that the plans need to be disseminated to everyone who has a modicum of responsibility for their disposition.
Assumption 5 – Just because people nod their heads and agree with you, doesn’t mean they agree with you, trust you or even have confidence in the direction you’re heading. Their B.S. meter may just be registering at the high end, and they don’t trust you enough to respond differently.
Golda Meir said, “Don’t be so humble….you’re not that great”. The only thing worse than inflated, insincere humility is sincere hubris. At this point we have a long way to go before we can afford either affectation. I want us to push past these tired conversations which find us opining in tired clichés and commentary that is becoming trite in its content. Aren’t you a little itchy for more? Wouldn’t you like to challenge the endless loop that plays and replays providing us with little more than one more stimulus to ignore as we do elevator music? When are we going to look in the mirror, greet the image with a rousing ‘how the hell are you?’ and get excited about what we really can become?