I’ve had to deal with an ailing foot injury for years. Stubbornly, I justified I could tolerate the pain and get by. Out of the blue one early morning, I couldn’t even stand on two feet. The pain had become intolerable and I in effect became in-operable. Ironically, we treat organizational “pains” the same way. We don’t address or do anything about the unhealthy situation until we have no choice.
Why Do We Have to Learn the Hard Way?
Human nature is such that we prefer to learn the hard way. This means it has to hurt, a LOT, before we choose to act. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a litmus test. For a moment, reflect on something going on in your work or personal life right now that is, less than healthy. Do you have it?
Now the question is why haven’t you done anything about it? Similar to my friend, my guess is you’re choosing to address other priorities that currently “hurt more.”
Changing Your Mindset
I consider myself to have a sixth sense when it comes to organizational dynamics and people, sort of an organizational clairvoyant. It only takes me a few minutes, literally, to identify “pain points.” What’s more, I can also clearly see how to “heal the hurt.” Yet, unless the organization or the person has the mindset and is ready to make a change, it doesn’t matter what I say or do. J
While I understand human nature’s reluctance to address nagging or uncomfortable issues, I’m here to tell you – as my friend is, as well – that unhealthy situations will fester creating much bigger issues that are much, much harder to resolve. So now is the time to change your mindset, address issues or problem situations early on, and become more effective and comfortable in working things out.
Signs of Unhealthy Situations that Need Immediate Attention
The first step is recognizing the molehills BEFORE they become mountains and huge bottlenecks. The following specifically focuses on organizational and people-related issues; however these “signals” can also be applied to your personal life.
- People are starting to avoid or ignore you. This is an undeniable “red flag” that needs to be addressed with a critical sense of urgency. While avoiding the situation feels easier and more “comfortable,” doing so can actually lead to lack of support when you need it MOST later on. Instead, tackle the issue head on and set up face-to-face meetings with those who might be brushing you off. The purpose of the meetings is to calibrate and make sure things are ‘ok.’ Be open-minded, receptive and ready to do whatever you need to do to make things right.
- More people disagree than agree with you. This is a telltale sign of stubbornness at its finest. Not everyone is right all of the time, even the ‘smartest people in the room’ fall victim to pride and arrogance. Take a healthy step back and think about the people you believe are credible and trustworthy. If they too are disagreeing with you, it might be time to re-consider your stance. Otherwise, stubbornly “sticking to your guns” could leave you isolated – on an island – all by yourself.
- There are constant “little, recurring fires” around a particular person or issue that you personally oversee. Ever hear about the flood story where a stubborn individual refuses to leave their roof believing the water will reside. First, rescuers send in a kayak, then a motor boat as the waters rise and finally a helicopter is necessary. What may seem minor now can quickly escalate, especially if there seems to be a constant barrage of small fires. Address the “molehills” now before they become “mountains.” And they WILL become “mountains” if left unaddressed.
- You, yourself are losing sleep or feeling anxiety over a certain issue or person. Similar to what I’ve spoken about in the past – wallow in the worry or revel in the resolution – you need to trust your inner sense. If you are feeling anxious about a certain thing or someone, the likelihood that someone else is feeling that same anxiety is probably the same. They might not be feeling the same type of anxiety, but your anxiety is having an impact on the other party in some way shape or form. Case in point, if I’m feeling stressed about something, I know my clients can feel the negative ramifications of my stress, as well. It’s not good for anyone.
- You see little or NO progress on what you are currently doing. You may have created a perfect plan and strategy. But after 6 months or even a year, nothing has changed. You see little results. How much longer do you really need to hold on? Do not fall victim to being in such denial that you “sink with the Titanic!” Sometimes, our ego gets the best of us and creates blockades to being truly objective. Make an honest and objective evaluation of where things are today, and do something different, if necessary.
- People are jumping off of your ‘bus,’ literally. The honest truth is that MOST of us are conflict-averse, even the Type-A’s! Keep honest track of buy-in, enthusiasm and support of what you are doing and where you are going from the people who are supporting your efforts. Do everything you can to keep them in the loop and demonstrate your efforts are resulting in positive results, not only for yourself but for them, as well. But if you start to see your people dismissing themselves from your ‘support bandwagon,’ it might be time to put on the brakes, call the troops back together, re-assess your strategy and re-tune your ‘bus.’
My Healthy Action Challenge to You
Don’t be like my friend, address unhealthy issues as they arise. Taking care of business today means you have a business tomorrow.
Your leadership challenge: Tackle what’s not healthy… period!
I’m Here to Help You Own It
You CAN overcome – and take control of – what’s ‘unhealthy.’ Privately send me your challenges, questions and comments or use the forum below. I can’t guarantee I’ll have all the answers, but I will be candid, truthful and genuine. All of us can inspire, lead and achieve and drive higher performance and organizational health if we simply work at it.