List
Print This Post Print This Post

In my consulting work, it is incredibly frequent to see people stuck with a question: ‘but what to they want us to do?’. Or, ‘we need to know what they want so we can do’. Or, ‘should they not tell us what our role (mission, remit) is, first?’ They are the execs in the top floor. Or the exec suite. Or the ones with the office closed next door.

This is particularly frequent for groups and corporate functions often sitting at the crossroads between other functions or Business Unit. I have in my mind Internal and External Communications, Branding units, Franchise structures, Project team structures etc. They all seem to need a clarification of frontiers, a declaration of borders, even better if that comes with a Border Police and a Manual: this is mine, this is yours, do not trespass. Not unreasonable. Perhaps. In the 19th Century.

There is a hidden, or not that hidden, assumption that there are people (execs at the top) who seem to know the answer, but they don’t tell you. If they just did, once and for all! Of course, in the absence of they telling you, a possible path is to guess. Here, the game of guessing, and second guessing, comes in, one of the most futile exercises in organizational life, big organization or small organization.

In my experience, nine out of ten of the cases when they don’t tell you, is because they haven’t got a clue, not that they want to keep it secret from you. I am saying this as a partial compliment, not a criticism. Of course if they knew, but decided not to tell you, they will be simply deceiving you. Frankly, thi is not my experience. The partial compliment comes from the fact that, at least, they have not made it up so that ‘they have an answer for everything’.

A good working hypothesis is this:  there is no magic answer in the 10th floor. If we are stuck with this, they are also stuck. So, there are two options.

One. Wait. Wait for the magic to come down, and put up with it if you don’t like it. You may have, finally tremendous clarity, a clarity that you may regret.

Two. ‘Occupy the street’. Take accountability, take the space, figure it out yourselves. Chances are, they will very much welcome this. To the surprise of many of my clients, this is generally the case.

The reason why the above partial compliment was only partial, instead of full one, is this. They should be more open and honest and say: you figure it out.

The dark is not a workable leadership place.

Keep up with the Daily Thoughts

Twitter Email

Would you like to comment?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To search my website, please use the form below.

  Daily Thoughts

May 19th, 2023

Value is an overused term in business and, as such, it’s becoming meaningless

Value, as usually used, means transactional monetary value. Usually it doesn’t mean intrinsic value, or value per se. For example, […]

May 4th, 2023

The importance of ‘critical thinking.’ Your own critical thinking is more effective at making your workplace better than any generic employee survey.

Build your own Employee Engagement argument for free. You can’t go wrong. Here are three baskets full of concepts: Basket […]

April 21st, 2023

´Busy-Ness’ Is A Trap

I went to a big conference where I was introduced by the chairman like this: “Welcome everybody. Lovely to have […]

April 14th, 2023

Training and culture change. The love affair that ends in tears.

It seems to be very hard for people to get away from the idea that if we just put individuals […]

April 11th, 2023

Teamocracies and Networkracies have different citizens: in-Habitants in team-work, riders in net-work

The old view of the organization is something close to the old concept of a medieval city, where citizenship was […]

April 5th, 2023

3 Ways To Get Approval From Your CEO Or Your Leadership Team

Way number 1: My team has developed these three options, A, B and C. Which one do you want us […]

March 29th, 2023

A Cheat Sheet To Create A Social Movement Tip = to shape organizational culture since both are the same.

Mobilizing people. This is another of the Holy Grails (how many have I said we have?) in management. Whether you […]

March 16th, 2023

Critical Thinking Self-Test: A 10 Point Health Check For Your Organization And Yourself. If any of these are a good picture of your organization, you need to put ‘critical thinking’ in the water supply.

Test yourself, and your organization. Do any of these apply? Doing lots, too fast without thinking. High adrenaline, not sure […]

March 9th, 2023

A culture of safety or a culture of training in safety?

Cultures are created by behaviours becoming the norm. Safety is at the core of many industries. Significant budgets are allocated […]

March 2nd, 2023

Empowerment is an output. If you can visualize it, you can craft it.

The real question is, what do you want to see happening so that you can say ‘people are empowered’? Employee […]

February 24th, 2023

A simple question will jumpstart your organization into change. It will also save you from months of pain spent reorganizing your people and teams.

The following line will short-cut months of (building) ‘alignment’, integration, reorganization, team building, coalition building, and any situation in which Peter, […]

February 20th, 2023

Lead Via Peer-To-Peer Networks – If you don’t lead via peer-to-peer networks, you’re only driving your car in first gear.

Peer-to-peer work, transversal, spontaneous or not, collaboration, peer-to-peer influence, peer-to-peer activities of Viral Change™ champions or activists, all of this is the […]

February 7th, 2023

Write a script, not a strategic plan

If you care about the journey and the place, you need a story. If you have a good, compelling one, […]

January 26th, 2023

3 self-sabotaging mechanisms in organizations

Organizations, like organisms, have embedded mechanisms of survival, of growth and also of self-sabotage. These are 3 self-sabotage systems to […]

January 10th, 2023

Who should be involved in culture change? All inclusive versus going where the energy is.

Many times, in my consulting work, I find myself facing a dilemma: Do I involve many people on the client’s […]

December 23rd, 2022

Tell what won’t change – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

In any change programme that any organization wants to start, they will start by thinking of the things that they […]

December 16th, 2022

Scale It – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

When creating effective change in any organization, there are 40 rules that, in my experience, are the key between success […]

December 5th, 2022

Assets & Strengths Base – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

For more than 30 years I have been involved in ‘change’ in organizations. Again and again, some fundamental principles, and often […]

November 25th, 2022

Campaign It… is 1 of my 40 rules of change

When you filter out the noise, when you try to extract the core, the fundamentals, those ‘universal rules’ of change […]

October 31st, 2022

Hybrid or not hybrid? That’s not the question…

Culture is the new workplace If you want to have a conversation about the future of work, the nature of […]

October 24th, 2022

‘Powered by Viral Change™’: A Social Transformation Platform for the organization of the 21st Century

When we started to work on Viral Change™, as a way to create large scale behavioural and cultural change, and […]

October 14th, 2022

Corporate tribes, intellectual ghettos and open window policies

We talk a lot about silos in organizations usually in the context of Business Units or divisions. But these are not […]

October 7th, 2022

Peer Networks are the strongest force of action inside the organization

Peer-to-peer works, transversal, spontaneous or not, collaboration, peer-to-peer influence, peer-to-peer activities of Viral Change™ champions or activists, all of this is […]

September 30th, 2022

Change that doesn’t deliver change-ability is a waste

The traditional model of change is the one I call ‘destination’ type, that is, how to go from A to […]

September 23rd, 2022

Company structures: aggregate and disaggregate

New organizations, and old ones in the business of transforming themselves, would be better off learning by heart these two […]

September 15th, 2022

3 Self-Sabotaging Mechanisms in Organizations

Organizations, like organisms, have embedded mechanisms of survival, of growth and also of self-sabotage. These are 3 self-sabotage systems to […]

September 2nd, 2022

The best organizational model is to have more than one under the same roof

Command and control management has fewer friends, and it’s quite terminally ill as well. The heirs are fighting for a piece […]

August 26th, 2022

Unprecedented Times? Sure. Let’s Move On Please.

Somewhere in the post-Covid peak, I promised myself that I wasn’t going to pay attention anymore to anything that starts with […]

August 19th, 2022

Engagement, Empowerment and Ownership Culture Meet at One Single Point. Obvious, Simple and Incredibly Forgotten

Employee engagement efforts, ownership values and empowerment behaviours must meet at one point. It’s simple, not terribly controversial, based upon […]

August 12th, 2022

Employee Engagement and the Productivity Magnet

For me, the most damaging use of the employee engagement framework is the widespread one that states that ‘engagement’ predicts […]