It is all about perception and perspective
Working with various people and groups our team experienced and documented a lot of work activities around sharing and “intentional collaboration” which is managing and exchanging information with context (Knowledge Management/ Knowledge Transfer).
Our practices were growing and our work became more comprehensive and complex. The work itself was something that our team embraced and we were and currently are very passionate about. Due to issues associated with budget and other factors the stress levels increased substantially.
Why won’t they (don’t they) listen?
I often feel like a salesman and during the process of learning and growing, it felt dirty and almost wrong to “sell.” I enjoy giving much more than selling. My team seems to feel the same way that I do about it as well. I always see myself as the person who comes in after all the selling is done. I give my all to my projects and the people who are part of my group. I take ownership and pride in my work. It is always my hope that my clients and team knows this intrinsically and benefits from my efforts as I believe that this is the true foundation for growth and stability in work. I have read Sun Tzu and firmly disagree with the concepts of war and business. I don’t want to shoot my competition, I want to make them partners because we all need to eat. My team has historically held great relationships with the people we serve and for years have their success tied to ours. All that being said, I understand NOW that selling is good because it is tied to intent. If we have good intentions, we should look to market and sell our work, even though it is more comforting to give. We can always give as we grow!
I have wanted to stay with the same people (clients) over the years and share our team ideas and lessons learned back with my home (parent) organization. I felt that my team could help our sister teams and enhance services and offerings that would build new channels and new opportunity.
They may not listen because…..
When you know someone in an intimate way, it may seem strange but there is a tendency to listen to that person less often. I am guessing here but I bet it is because you can see when the person is wrong as well as when they are right. One awe-shizz kills all the atta-boyz they say!
When I first approached leadership my immediate supervisor automatically saw value in our concepts and work. He simply didn’t know what to do with the ideas. Thinking back, he was asking me and our team what to do as well but we didn’t have it all planned out and so it seemed more like a brainstorm than anything else. His position to me was akin to someone walking out of a diamond mine and handing a beautiful yet freshly mined diamond to the lead excavator. The receiver may be happy to be handed this rock but the question is …. what does he do with it?
The other concern was “investment”, people need to take a risk or give some time to invest in others. It doesn’t matter if this is related to leadership or peers EVERYONE has to invest and you have to believe it before you invest.
In the beginning my team was willing to invest and we invested a lot. We asked for others to get involved and some chose in various levels to participate.
People have been asking me for the past few months why should they invest or care about the work they are doing or helping their companies if their companies don’t care about them. What is in it for them? What is in it for me? I think that is a fair question and it is a question that companies across the globe are going to have to deal with eventually. I believe that companies are dealing with this now but they haven’t identified this as an epidemic yet. Long gone are the days that workers are loyal to companies. Long gone are the days that companies are loyal to workers. The shame of it all is that most people I know ARE willing to invest in their organizations but feel as if the organizations are not willing or able to invest in them. As a matter of observation, most people I know believe that organizations are divesting in them.
Whether you believe it is fact or fiction my perspective concerning corporate caring is fairly common.
We all need love…
A friend of mine reminds me often that we all need love. What he is saying is that we need to be respected and valued. We need to have purpose. We need to know that we have value from our leadership and leadership needs to know that we value them. When there is a disconnect in either direction everyone ultimately suffers and there is a domino effect that echos throughout an organization that can be very costly for all involved. **thx Joel**
Why should they listen?
In 1955 Boeing was demonstrating a 367-80 prototype at an airshow..
I learned something about Boeing when I went to their facility in Washington.
1955 Boeing had no orders for its new commercial airplane the 707..
the 367-80 was its prototype
Boeing was holding a demonstration flight in Aug 1955
The pilot was supposed to do a fly over
instead “Johnston is best known for performing a barnstormer-style barrel-roll maneuver with Boeing’s pioneering 367-80 jet in a demonstration flight over Lake Washington outside of Seattle, on August 7, 1955. The maneuver was caught on film and was frequently shown on the Discovery Wings cable channel in a three-minute short as part of the Touched by History series, while the channel still aired. Called before then-president of Boeing, Bill Allen, for rolling the airplane, Johnston was asked what he thought he was doing, and responded with “I was selling airplanes”. He kept his position as a test pilot, and got in no legal troubles for his actions.”
Pan Am bought a bunch of planes after that (they bought 20)
Sometimes leadership can’t see the value of risk and they don’t know to believe in us.
I think “Tex” proves that employees can have clear vision and should be able to execute without fear.
I will have to write more on this topic as I think this is just a primer. I want to refer to my cousins here and what I recently learned from them and their experiences. Both my cousins are brilliant engineering types who work in different disciplines. Recently one of them faced a challenge with his job. He reached out to his organization and friends at work to find out what was going on. He was concerned and I know he felt that his organization values the shareholder over his individual contributions. All that being said, his feelings about the work itself were never impacted. As a matter of fact, I believe that he looks at the work as totally independent of his employer. It brings to mind some thoughts about what we do for work and why we work hard. What is in it for me? There are intangible benefits in our work regardless of WHO we work for. Some of us recognize those and embrace these benefits regardless of the behavior of our employers. We need to talk about these and identify the drivers and understand what these mean to the individual employee considering so many people feel disconnected from their organizations.
More to come on this.. feedback and conversation is welcome.