Complacency is always a risk, more so when we profess to be immune to it. Sometimes, achieving organizational and business goals is tough. So it sounds unreasonable to ask people to be unsatisfied even in a healthy manner. Is very good not good enough? We delivered what we promised, is this not much better than aiming for unrealistic goals and not delivering?
But healthy restlessness about doing even better, is a good engine when exercised with good spirits. Mike Eskew, who was the chairman of UPS from 2002 to 2007, used the term ‘constructive dissatisfaction’ to refer to that healthy restlessness, as I call it. It’s not masochistic thinking; it’s a serious and legitimate aspirational drive.
My favourite quote, that I repeat like a parrot in my speaking engagements and consulting work, and that I use with care, is that of Michelangelo, that bizzarro e fantastico, 16th Century inventor of multi-tasking:
‘The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it’.
One of the problems with modern Western education is that sometimes it settles too early for the easy achievable, for a permanent Q&A that converts schooling into a very long quiz, in which having predictable answers for even more predictable questions is the highest reward, no matter how useless the questions maybe and how cut and paste the answers given. We are killing curiosity early in life and, with that death, the aspirations to reach those less easy goals and possibilities.
Business life is not isolated from the culture and the education system. If aspiration is not there it is because the education system did not nurture it. The opposite is true as well. Aspiration is contagious. It breeds in families, in schools and then in adult life and business life. It is a core attribute of leadership, if there is one.
Setting aspirational goals can be done in many ways. There is the useless macho style that may end up in disappointment if not tears. There is the lip service style that is not aspirational at all but it uses the word a lot. There is also the true aspirational style (restlessness, dissatisfaction, Michelangelo aim) that could be easily role modelled and spread.
Organizational Change in Covid Times. To change to ‘the new normal’ we must think and act differently in the management of our organizations.
Watch our Feed Forward Webinar Series. 5 webinars that see Dr Leandro Herrero and his team of organizational architects, debunk uncontested assumptions and uncover the alternatives, whilst considering why this is even more relevant today in the current exceptional Covid-19 environment.
Have your critical thinking brain, switched on. It’s a serious business. It may also be fun.
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Dr Leandro Herrero is the CEO and Chief Organization Architect of The Chalfont Project, an international firm of organizational architects. He is the pioneer of Viral ChangeTM, a people Mobilizing Platform, a methodology that delivers large scale behavioural and cultural change in organizations, which creates lasting capacity for changeability.
Dr Herrero is also an Executive Fellow at the Centre for the Future of Organization, Drucker School of Management. An international speaker, Dr Herrero is available for virtual speaking engagements and can be reached at: The Chalfont Project.
His latest book, The Flipping point – Deprogramming Management, is available at all major online bookstores.