There are none so blind as those who will not see
Everyday we go about our lives. Doing our work, playing our play but do we see all that we need to?
During the course of my day, I am privy to some very interesting conversations. One, in particular has been in an organization and the way people treat each other inside that organization.
Now this conversation has cropped up from time to time and raises some interesting points about the workings of organizations and groups, especially the blindness that occurs within the confines of the group.
Listening in, as an outsider, you would immediately pick up the outnesses and question the powers that be. Why are certain decisions being (or in some cases, not being) made?
This blindness can be the downfall any organization or group. Countries have fallen and regimes have been overthrown due to this very point. Blindness to the surroundings.
Now there are many reasons why… comfort, pig headedness, lack of change can all create a comfort zone inside that hide real events. These can sneak up on the organization as a whole and suddenly the statistics begin to fall, good staff leave and you are left with a shell being run by people who have a larger opinion of themselves than their fellow workers. Staff morale begins to fall, natter and criticism undermine the group and cliques form. All these are signs that the organization is failing miserably… and this is usually months before the place really falls apart.
Blindness in these times is tantamount to signing the death warrant for the place. But it happens time and time again. Ask yourself how many times you have heard the words by an official or boss “If only I had known” after a worker has been caught with their fingers in the till or a person gets arrested for unsavory dealings. It’s this blindness that makes us all believe that everything is all right, even when its not!
To combat organizational blindness, you need strong leadership, accountable policies and visible procedures. You have to get over the bullies that demand things and make forthright decisions based on sound business practices. A weak leader will land the organization is strife whatever the size. A weak leader will compound the blindness by being lead by the bullies that are making a pillow for their own bed rather than for the greatest good for all.
You will be able to recognize these people by the very fact that there is tension and mistakes around them. Be careful not to weed out the recalcitrant members of organizations just because they stick up for their rights. You want fighters; you want people who will stick by you when the chips are down. They will question decisions but they will also keep your eyes very wide awake and what’s more. They offer support not known by bullies
It’s the so called do-gooders and instigators that are the worry. You will notice them by the turmoil. Where there is turmoil, there will also be someone who is creating it. You will know when you find the person because the turmoil will stop. So when good people are leaving, morale is low and the stats are falling, be very aware that you had better get into gear and sort out who is driving the company, business or organization down.
Now how do you begin to get on top of this blindness?
Five things can give you that edge
Let’s look at each of items
Honesty… Can you be honest with yourself? What is actually happening? and what are the causes, honestly? If you can’t get beyond this, you will be doing everything to help the place go down the gurgler. Be honest with yourself. If you want to win a war, and you can’t honestly survey and observe your surroundings, there is little doubt that your enemy will have the upper hand… especially if he is being totally honest with himself.
Play… People need a game to play. Make sure that it is being played and if there isn’t one, get one up and running. If you don’t, it won’t be long before the game will actually becomes “getting at the boss” or picking on an individual. While the focus is out there and production is high, morale is high. When these drop, the focus usually turns around to look inwards at the organization and this is a danger.
Leadership… People require leadership. Left to their own devices they will devise all sorts of plans that will lead them all over the place rather than working towards a defined outcome. Strong leadership is imperative. A strong leader can let the place run but when leadership is called for, if it isn’t forthcoming from the appointed one, then someone else will step up. It is a fact! I have yet to see any form of business or group work entirely without a leader.
Delegation… You must use the people you have. You must delegate some power to those that are close to you and let them get on with it. Use them and get them to be at the peak of their abilities so they can get the job done and build up the power base. If you are close to this leader, then make sure you get some power delegated to you and always push this power towards those whose power you depend on.
Support… Do everything to support those in which you depend on. This works up and down the leadership board. Undermining anyone will cause the foundations to crumble. So if you are the leader, support your troops and if you are a trooper, support your leader. There is no other way. When the support goes, so does confidence in general and then the knives come out
These points will give you an edge in anything you do. These aren’t restricted to business alone. Sport, Community Groups, Family life and general living can be enhanced by following these points.
It’s the blindness, whether self induced, lack of knowledge or from mis-information that will undo all your good work.
You want to hone up your peripheral vision so that you have a 360 degree take on your environment. Leaders need to become more visible to the people they lead. They should be getting themselves down on the shop floor and getting their hands dirty along with the workers. It builds confidence and opens up the channels. Workers are knowledgeable in what they do. Why is it that Managers don’t listen? It’s this blindness and it shows contempt for the above points and worse… for the workers themselves. A leader must support downwards if he is going to get the support he needs, from the stars of the show… the people who are providing the legs for him to lead.
So where ever you are in life,
Check out these questions and you may be surprised at the answers you get. Be brutally honest with yourself. It could be the start of a new you
Questions to move forward….
What is the Ideal Scene for me?
Where is my life actually at?
What steps do I need to put in place to get from where my life is at, to my ideal scene?
Questions to clarify what is happening…
What is happening around me?
If I had a different view, what would I see then?
What do others see around me?
How do they perceive the situation?
These are a starting point for you to gain clarity and some understanding. Once you get a start, you will be surprised by the questions you will ask next. This is about uncovering your view and getting a clear picture. A picture not clouded by a fixed idea of how a situation “should” be. Remember, there are none so blind as those who will not see.
Until next week
Bill is a Business Coach. Working with Individuals, Businesses and Organisations to create better environments and to develop and enhance business ”potential”, into successful business practices.
Ph +61 413 949 521
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