Previously in ’10 ways to slow poisoning an organization’:
Script 1: I just know. Subtitle: I just know that we’ll do x, but go and explore all the options
Script 2: Let them fail. Subtitle: Wrong path but they need to see it for themselves.
I said yesterday that is is a self-test to see how old my old article was. What I get from people so far is that it is really current! The point of these Daily Thoughts for this week is to help identify toxicity… They don’t necessarily provide a way to protect yourself. That may come up later! Many may be well known – as people tell me. It’s our role as leaders to see them and ask ourselves in the mirror: ‘is that me?’. Then, visualize the consequences.
Here are more scripts
Script 3: Try harder
Subtitle: Guess what I want.
Teams are always ‘not quite there’ when presenting the results of a three-month analysis of the problem, and they go back again and again to refine their exploration. Eventually one project leader has a revelation and asks: “Why don’t you tell us what you want? That would save us from having to keep ‘going back to the team’.
The backwards and forwards of ‘the approval system’ is a ritual. As a ritual, it will always tend to stay, provided it serves a function. The ‘Try harder’ plot is an exaggeration of a normal ritual. In this plot, the characters suspect at some point that there may be more of a ritual (power exercise) than of a business reality. Death is by progressive exhaustion. Binder presentations get bigger and bigger. People try harder and harder. Then the music stops.
Script 4: I have the answer, what’s the question?
Subtitle: Been there, done that, trust me, I know.
A variation on Script 1, this organisation is governed by managers who constantly refer back to their previous experiences. If it’s a management-change programme, they bring the McKinsey templates from their last company’s M&A to the first start-up meeting. The answers are in there and they have them. If it’s an HR problem, they are super-psychologists. If it’s a financial problem, they know, because they’ve been there before. Many lines in the script start with ‘When I was in X’. And then it follows a long explanation of what happened in X, which usually has little to do with current company Y. Reality is pretty much mapped out, causing staff to switch off creativity. Sudden death occurs in this script when market conditions change drastically, and the combined wisdom of those experienced managers can’t compensate for the lack of new ideas and imagination.
To be continued. More plots tomorrow
PS. Remember the mirror.