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Haha That's awesome Steve (I really missed that shirt). Thanks!


Steve -

This is a great post. And the sad thing is that in that environment over time Laurie will decide that the effort is not worth it and cease to do what she could do. She'll do ok stuff, but not what is possible, what is excellent. It is likely that this would happen to anyone in the position.

And this will not only affect her, but it will ripple through the whole organization. The rest of the organization picks up on these things incredibly well and maps it into their operating mode because they are tuning in on the actions which are speaking much louder than anything anyone says.

Then one day someone in the organization will ask why don't we excel and the real answer will be hidden from view.

Steve Roesler

Hey, Shane,

Anything to help ease the pain!

Steve Roesler


You are clearly a keen organizational diagnostician.

As I was reading your scenario, it occurred to me that all of the "employee engagement programs" in the world are useless as long as these "equilibrium in place of excellence" situations exist.

Thanks, Dean.

Karin H.

Hi Steve

Can I bring something non-management to the discussion. Non-management but with the same 'stumbling block' to chance?
The large company I worked for years ago had a large group of 'workers' and a smaller group of admin and managers. The 'workers' had to punch a clock-card every morning an evening to 'report' their working hours. Admin and management not, they came and went unreported.

Chance was afoot (new CEO) and a slide-board (in - out structure) was suggested. The 'workers' rebelled to this. So in the end everyone had to 'clock-in' with a card and every hour, minute was reported. But overtime for both 'workers' and 'admin' still had to be recorded on little slips of paper, regardless of the cards.

IMHO the 'workers' only saw negative discrimination - for years they were used to the card system and the to the exact minute recording of their whereabouts, which didn't influence their monthly wages - the little overtime slips did that. They could have argued for a slide-system for themselves too, instead of calling it discrimination.

Hope this makes sense?

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

Karin H.

Oh my. In the above, please read chanGe instead of chanCe - double Dutch English again, sorry.

Karin H.

Steve Roesler

Geen Probleem, Karin, Ik begrijp:

Isn't the human condition amazingly strange. Sometimes when presented with a potential opportunity we hold on to the familiar as a way of saying "I'm not changing!"

I'm thinking about the joys of wood. It sits there and lets you do whatever you wish.

No wonder you are smiling and keeping it simple!!

Karin H.

LOL Steve ;-)
(That counts for double English Dutch ;-))

I was very amazed also that instead of changing to something better equal (no more red ink when you cam in two minutes late but normal black ink when you staid 20 minutes longer) there was this persistent: you white-boards will have red ink too!

As for wood, we love our wooden floors just to sit very, very still ;-)

Steve Roesler

Ooh, Karin, you've taught me a new expression: Whiteboards. Here we call them "Suits".

Yep. It is amazing how we can defeat ourselves in the quest to "get" someone else.

Good grief!

Scott M

There is a time to work with human nature, and there is a time to simply get things done. While people certainly need to understand the unwritten power structure and culture of a company, you should not alter reality in order to accommodate it. What's right for the business is still right, no matter who disagrees due to personal reasons or fear about upsetting the power structure.

The key is to be skilled in presenting your case, using facts (always facts, not opinion). People can't refute facts. Well, they can, but they usually end up looking foolish (The earth is flat, it tell you!). In the above example, if Laurie has the facts to back up her appraisal, then who can argue with that? If they tell her she doesn't understand the ramifications, then she should ask for examples, and not accept a brush-off.

I guess what I am saying is that while a business involves people, its' still a business. Personal egos, while unavoidable, are not the primary concern of the business. It’s easy to allow written power structures to evolve, because they require no effort, unlike designing a new organizational structure. And they can even be beneficial, because they expedite matters. But they need to be kept in check. Any time that personal dynamics and unwritten power structures begin to interfere with the business decisions, they need to be brought under control.

Focus more on facts, measurable metrics, sound business decisions, and the rest will take care of itself.

Steve Roesler

Well, Scott, your comment is exactly the issue:

Focusing on facts and "what's best" is, in fact, often secondary to focusing on "What's best for the business."

While personal egos are not the primary concern of the business, they can be a key inhibitor in the success of the business. At that point, in order to do business successfully, the business of the business better include changing that dynamic.

This is an issue of task and process, where a task can't be completed with excellence until the (human) process is put back on track.

Thanks, as always, Scott...

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