Around this time of the month every year, it finally hits home to certain people that the current year is about to end and the new year is right around the corner. Furthermore, it is very common in the middle of December during executive coaching sessions and consultations for someone to tell me that they are feeling unprepared for the coming new year. And once this realization has come clear to them, they often ask me what to do and how to prepare for something that is coming so fast. My response this year will be to refer them to two important quotes.
“Most ailing organizations have developed a functional blindness to their own defects,” notes John Gardner. “They are not suffering because they cannot resolve their problems, but because they cannot see their problems.” To truly see our organizations as they are rather than as we would like them to be is a great challenge and a great gift. The challenge is to accept reality but not to let it define us. The gift is to receive this depth of awareness and understanding to the degree that we own our problems and recognize we collectively created them. Once we start from the place of acceptance, we can definitely move forward to change this reality.
The second quote is from the late Stephen Covey who wrote, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” Trust comes at three levels, namely personal, strategic and organizational. We as leaders need to be constantly monitoring these three levels and constantly strengthening our relationships with others in order that we can communicate cleanly and clearly. With a strong level of trust in the work place, we can resolve our problems collectively and not allow functional blindness to become the norm.
Waking up one day and realizing that 2013 is just around the corner is normal. Choosing to stay functionally blind and not building healthy work relationships is dysfunctional. Our challenge for the rest of this month is to do the following:
- listen carefully to others and learn more about what is actually happening within our organizations, not what should be happening.
- differentiate between technical and adaptive problems so we make smarter choices and decisions as we prepare for 1Q of 2013.
- invest more time in relationship and team building so we can achieve greater degrees of trust and understanding.
When we reflect on the above quotes and do the above actions, we will build a solid foundation for the future, one day and one relationship at a time.