Are your facial expressions holding back your career?
Have we lost the ceremonies that mark our rites of passage at work? Does it matter?
Did you ever feel like senior leaders have no idea what’s really happening on the ground? My friend Kelly calls this the “permafrost layer”, and I see it in most companies. I’ve encouraged you all to take responsibility for your world, so I ask you, “How are you complicit in creating leaders who don’t know what’s really going on?” And I ask leaders, “What can you do to melt the permafrost?”
Leaders - are you creating fear? What are you doing that’s discouraging people from giving you the truth? Are you creating a safe environment or one of fear? I had an executive ask me indignantly, “What are they afraid of? We never fire anyone!” People aren’t afraid of being fired, they are afraid of criticism and shame. That’s a lot worse than being fired.
If you criticize everything that crosses your path, you’re a like a black cat, creating bad luck in the form of fear. When people are afraid, you aren’t going to get the truth, and a permafrost layer develops.
Workers - are you coddling your leaders? When workers make everything look rosy, we are building the permafrost upwards. When an environment of fear is in place, it’s hard to say anything negative when reporting upwards. This is where courage comes into play; it takes courage to speak the truth. I had an executive client once tell me “If you listen to what they tell me you think everything is rosy, but I look at our results and I know it’s not.” Most of the time when people have the courage to be honest, in a productive way, it pays off. And when it doesn’t? Well did you really want to work there anyway?
How have you melted the permafrost layer in your organization? Let us know!
Companies build complex bureaucracies and then wonder why things take so long. When I help companies examine these processes, the process is so ingrained in everyone’s mind as an undeniable truth, people have developed a blind spot. Consider how you might be contributing to the red tape without realizing it.
When we track metrics in business, I notice that people often hesitate to use a metric if they can’t prove causation. Are we too caught up in the accuracy of our metrics, and missing the information that metrics can provide?
Some people view an assertion as a final word, and other people view it as a volley, containing information for the return volley. How can we know the difference?
I had a pattern of hiring people who I thought were skilled but after a few months, they threw the team into dysfunction. I was using shark bait to attract people, and I was attracting sharks.
The phrase “jump the shark” refers to an idea that is past it’s prime and entered into the absurd. Here are some things that have “jumped the shark” in the workplace.
It’s Shark Week! Are you working with Sharks? How can you break the cycle and start building trust?
People keep saying “change is hard” as if it’s an unarguable fact. People use is as justification for why change isn’t working. Change isn’t hard, it’s what’s behind the change that makes it so hard.