Today’s “Craig’s Top Five List” is a response — that is, my hope, my dream, my plea that inherent in the next generation will be a determination to unify, not where it is convenient, not where it is advantageous, but purely and simply as a matter of principle. The next generation’s single drive will be unity — a unifying force that will allow the phenomenally powerful material “stuff” of the “next generations” to be supplemented and complemented with an emotional and spiritual super glue.
We often confuse unity as being somewhere out there and bigger than us; however, unity starts with each of us and is then infused in our relationships, workplaces and communities.
The next generation which we previously labelled “Generation S”, in full awareness of man’s dilemma and feeling the acute suffering facing humanity, will aspire to a higher standard — hence “Craig’s Top Five List” for this Friday and the following five characteristics that define Generation S:
A Vision and Mission that Supports a Unified Humanity: Using Maslow’s hierarchy of need, the next generations in developed societies no longer have to worry about physiological and safety needs; unlike their parents, they have the luxury of spending their precious time growing emotionally and spiritually. Some might argue that the next generation is the first truly emotional generation; this means that this generation is more emotionally mature and progresses to stages of emotional maturity much earlier than was the case for baby boomers. This emotional maturity contributes to awareness of the global plight of humanity; members of this generation suffer when any member of humanity suffers. Their life mission is simple — “doing things for the right reasons” — “every action based upon principles of rightness and goodness”.
A Personal and Generational Virtues Cocktail: To operationalize their life mission, this generation identifies a set of values that will guide their behaviour. They understand that they will become what they believe and practice. They are committed to continuous personal growth because if they are not advancing they are retreating. They infuse their behaviour with values like honesty, understanding, compassion, integrity and love. They understand that arrogance and ego are the greatest impediments to growth so they adopt and nurture a posture of humility and observation.
A Capacity for Consultation: This generation understands that a change of this magnitude cannot be imposed. In addition to modelling the preferred behaviour, this generation must also launch a dialog; a critical component of this model is listening. Consultation also requires participants to detach from ideas so that all thoughts can be assessed objectively, thus containing reaction and impulsive negative emotion.
Relentless Determination, Patience and Endurance: This generation understands that change comes slowly. Although they feel great urgency in their unifying mission, they understand that resistance to change is embedded in tradition, conformity, fear of loss and power-based relationships. They remain focussed upon the prize and prepare to perform aerobically, recognizing that endurance is necessary. Changing behaviour will demand that members of this generation vote consistently for love and peace, while others, lacking in trust, will continue at least in the short term to vote for war and hate.
Joyfulness: While the baby boomers deal with the ghosts of their parents’ legacy of guilt, fear, seriousness and regret, the next generation is whole; and although by nature they strive competitively for excellence, they do this with the knowledge that man is not perfect. The ego relieved of this albatross, there is no reason to strive under the illusion of being flawless. Life’s pursuits are joyful and entertaining; the journey leading to gradual accomplishment of the life mission is equally gratifying.
Some might argue that this next generation should be labelled “generation YOU”, since the overlay should not come from a new generation but from our cumulative efforts to grow spiritually. In essence it becomes a metaphor for your growth and maturity
“I am doing this now” retorts the reader with intent. Take a closer look. What you may discover is that your life mission is targetted to a specific community and conditional on a particular result. Take a closer look and then tell me what you think.
Another Friday — another “Craig’s Top Five List”. On Monday, we put forth a case for the ongoing value of management and success books. While the current trend in the industry seems to be to discredit these reference materials and fear monger, we argued that the competent manager should understand the opportunities and limitations that come with these materials and include them as part of a package of resources that support a healthy attitude of continuous improvement.
Sabotage in the workplace is rarely as clear as this!
We also reminded readers that workplace sabotage can emerge from the shadows of an organization in many ways, and that pointing the finger at success books is just too easy. So, on this wonderful wind down Friday, let’s talk about sabotage — specifically, five ways that organizations can interfere with their own success:
It Starts at the Top: A true leader understands the importance of building a strong organization and is constantly in search of powerful guidance. Sadly, the American Automobile Industry is a perfect example of a rudderless ship. With countless opportunities to lead the pack, they chose complacency. For example, they were given the opportunity to be the leader in electric automobile technology and they chose to balk at this gift. And now, they are scrambling just to survive. Poor leadership will suffocate an organization; strong leadership will allow an entity to explode with possibilities.
Buy-in, Stay-in: Rightly or wrongly, there will be times in your organization when lower level managers decide to take management matters into their own hands. This will not be an all out mutiny; no, instead, while smiling and nodding support for their bosses, these managers will quietly and secretly begin the process of undermining the initiatives they dislike, in part by treating their area of responsibility as an island. These managers need to understand that disagreement is healthy if it is voiced openly and if it is part of an appropriate consultation process. However, there is also a time for unity of purpose where the team as a whole needs to get on side and offer a plan its best chance of success. It is often difficult for a senior manager to know what is happening on the ground floor. In their eyes if they hear nothing all is well. They need eyes and ears with employees at all levels so they can understand the support or lack of support for their plans.
Silos Belong on Farms: The more we slice and dice our organizations, the lower the unity of purpose. It is not uncommon for units, sectors, divisions to see themselves in competition with each other, largely a result of both managers and their staff seeing their role in the organization as being critical and successful, while the role of others, their “inside” competitors, being performed inadequately to the detriment of the organization. Unifying the organization’s sense of purpose and demonstrating how each role is an essential component of the organization’s mission is a critical responsibility of senior managers.
Communicate- Empower- Communicate- Empower: This is “the circle of [organizational] life”. Managers at all levels who fail to delegate will by definition underachieve. They will waste organizational capacity; they will damage employee motivation, goodwill, loyalty, commitment, happiness and so on. They will undoubtedly lose their best staff. Once managers learn how to empower effectively, they must complete the equation — effective and almost excessive communication. The empowered employee has a responsibility to inform and advise the manager; however, it is contingent upon the senior manager to ensure that an effective and satisfying mechanism is in place. When I say excessive communication, I mean it. This is the tool that allows you to sleep well at night. Because of clear communication, you know with confidence that all is well on the home front.
You are Only as Good as Your Talent: A couple of stories might help to clarify this point. Following the interviews for a senior researcher position, the interview team agreed that no one met the minimum qualifications. “I will cover what the best candidate cannot do” offered one senior manager. I reluctantly agreed and we offered the job to the best of the group. Big mistake! My senior manager was constantly rescuing this employee, time lines were lagging and we lost our capacity to perform effectively. In contrast, an organization hired a salesperson. Their expectations for this position were low based upon the performance of the previous incumbents. In a short time, this newbie demonstrated that she could outperform two people in this area and in fact her area became a significant source of revenue. The manager quickly realized that he could throw a challenge her way and that she would often out produce established areas of revenue for the organization. The stronger the talent, the greater the opportunity, the greater the result.
Flavour of the Month Syndrome: Did I say a list of five? Well, I could not resist offering this one last point. “It’s just the flavour of the month” he lamented, “I’ll just wait it out and before too long everything will be back to normal”. The manager who gets excited about every new management idea will find that skepticism settles into the organization. Employees will soon realize that the manager does not know how to use creative ideas to effect a change in culture; employees will see the initiative as time wasted and give the illusion of buy-in by saying the right things, while only accepting the idea at the margin. The senior manager has the right spirit — one of trying to bring the best to his organization; however, with a little help from other managers, he will complete the loop and carefully assess the value of the idea to the organization and the nature of its implementation.
Have you seen any of these at work in your organization? What efforts were taken to resolve the challenge?
It is time for another “Craig’s Top Five List”. On Monday, we looked at male mocking with the conclusion that perhaps we would be wise to strive for a higher standard in the way we approach gender-based relationships. Here are a few suggestions:
Rufino Tamayo 'Man and Woman' 1926, Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Acknowledge our differences: I am saying this as though it has never been voiced before, in the history of humanity. Of course, the exact opposite is true — it is hard to get through a day without some exasperated soul needing to exhale this sentiment. Clearly, you don’t know what you don’t know and under this condition, any form of growth is impossible. Otherwise stated, awareness is a prerequisite for change.
Accept our differences: By now I am sure you have figured out that difference is code for what I don’t like, don’t understand and cannot accept about “them”. Since each gender represents fifty percent of humanity it may make sense to try something different; let’s face it — How is your current pattern working for you? Not so good?
Stop the Veiled Criticism: There is something unifying about being able to share your frustration with those holding down membership in your gender club. Somehow, if they share your angst, it affirms the view that you’re not crazy. And if you are really courageous, you allow these whimsical commentaries on the other sex to slip out while they are present. After all, “its just a joke; I don’t really mean it. I am so tired of this politically correct stuff, aren’t you”? you offer to your membership. Well, if it smells like a dead fish and it looks like a dead fish, its probably a dead fish.
Celebrate our strengths: Once we get past the frustrating parts of male-female relationships, we can rejoice in what we value in each other. We need to acknowledge reality –that we are attracted to each other for reasons other the physical; for example, passion, intelligence, courage, sensitivity, calm, creativity and so on. Its the deeper issues that truly define who we are.
Treat Each Person as an Individual: If we can treat each person as unique, then we override the stigma of gender or for that matter any other way of classifying humanity. The more we choose to slice and dice humanity, the more we will frustrate our goal of unifying the human species.
I have just completed reading an amazing book entitled “Change”, based upon the principles of brief therapy. Clearly, surface or simple change is possible; however other forms of change demand more sophisticated solutions. More on this in a later post.
And that is the issue! Change is a difficult challenge. Can you see this prescription working? How are things in your workplace?