When success is on the line (or maybe the fence), there comes a time when all the expertise from every guru in the world doesn’t seem to be fixing your problem. You may be left to throwing your magic wands in the air in frustration or banging your head against a cubicle.
This is precisely when it’s time to start taking notice of the pattern of your office experience. You will probably begin by identifying the repetitive nature of your pain and motivate yourself to take action. That’s the perfect place to start.
My job is to track the pain to the root. Treating symptoms doesn’t work in medicine, and it sure doesn’t work in business. But first, it is important to insure that you are not just facing a simple missed opportunity with a turn-key solution such as the need to develop a solid strategy or take a refresher course in cold calling.
Once we know that the traditional solutions have been exhausted, we can hone in on an exact diagnosis and begin a treatment plan. Are you experiencing any of the following?
- All arrows point to the same issue, but you can’t get the issue to change. That ‘issue’ may in fact be a person. A supervisor, a key administrator or a subject matter expert. Regardless, the more you try to control someone or something, the less control you have!
- Wash, rinse, repeat. Wash, rinse, repeat. You and your team are in a vicious cycle, and no matter how much you try to clean it up, the issue just keeps resurfacing – oftentimes with greater vigor than the time before.
- There’s no easy fix. Everyone on the team has an opinion, and sure enough they will talk about it among themselves. No doubt in the hallways and behind closed doors. Nevertheless, the real problem is that if it were as easy to solve as the gossip insinuates, you wouldn’t need to read this article. Just go do whatever it is everyone thinks you should do. If it fails, come back and finish reading.
- Blame is no longer a game. It’s a way of life. You’re blaming yourself. The team is blaming each other. Someone is blaming you and another is blaming your boss. Someone else is blaming the former administration and another is blaming his/her own predecessor. The bottom line is that no one knows what the real problem is, much less how to fix it.
- A low quality of work life has become a norm. Just like a body ailment that goes untreated, over time you just get used to it. And then one day someone comes along and states the obvious: “This is not acceptable.” Oh yeah, you think to yourself, it probably isn’t.
Your MBA isn’t helping, the training your team mastered isn’t cutting it, and none of the leadership skills you learned in all your seminars is making a difference. What then?
That’s when you know that there’s an unconscious pattern in your environment. A deep-seeded belief that probably started with one person and like a virus, infected the entire vicinity until it changed the group dynamic. Beliefs drive behavior, and over time it is the marriage of the two that wreaks havoc on the environment and your team’s inability to break through to measurable success.
It may be true that you can’t change what you don’t own. The real problem is when you don’t know what to own. That’s when it’s time to identify the pattern of your pain. Then follow the trail down the rabbit hole. You and your team will have to challenge – and probably change – your beliefs. And while this is no small task, it will not only stop your vicious cycle. It will create a victorious one.