Have you ever tried hard to change a situation?
Have you ever gotten frustrated when change doesn’t seem to be happening?
And in the midst of that frustration… Have you ever had anyone slap a victim label on your forehead?
Years ago I was dealing with a situation like that at work. When I shared that frustration with an executive… He told me that I needed to stop being a victim.
I was shocked.
I thought I had spent the past three years doing everything in my power to take ownership of a reporting process that was a potential risk to the company – a risk that was growing as the organization grew.
I had involved several key-stakeholders, I had shared concerns, I had collaborated on how to handle the present situation.
…And I consistently believed that one of them would take the necessary steps to create change before this process had to be repeated again.
How was it possible that my efforts to be an owner were perceived as being a victim?
One of my expat friends recently moved back to the U.S. to an area she has never lived in before.
When we spoke recently she shared how hard it is to develop friendships with people in the area.
When she is out walking and greets her neighbors, they look at her like she is from another planet.
When she meets people at her children’s schools and they learn that she was recently living overseas the conversation ends quickly.
Have you ever been consumed by volcanic anger? …Or worse yet been an unsuspecting victim?
During our recent vacation we toured the ruins of Pompeii, and looked across the bay at the seemingly peaceful Vesuvius, the volcano that was responsible for the destruction that entire city. As peaceful as Vesuvius appeared, we were reminded that it is still a living volcano that could erupt again at anytime.
People can be just like that volcano….
I was recently cleaning closets and opened a box of paperwork, re-discovering one short story and several quotes that I found so inspiring as a young leader that I shared them with all of our front line employees, supervisors, and managers at our daily meetings.
Then I purchased beautiful paper, typed them up and copied them onto that paper, cut them out, boxed them up and sent them to some of our other locations to share with their teams.
When I re-discovered them, I felt like I ‘d just found buried treasure.
And then I thought of the stories we all hear, about people who climb the ladder of success and sometimes forget where they’ve come from.
So if you have a leadership title of any kind, take a closer look:
Today I visited with a neighbor that was emphasizing how much the company her husband works for values integrity.
As she shared her thoughts I imagined the difference between the list of core values that hang on walls and collect dust, and those that are used to guide decisions.
She went on to share a story about a compound that the company had decided they would not continue to use for their expat’s housing because of extraordinary cost.
The first thing the company did was to decide that anyone that was already living there could stay.
- (A choice that will cost the company a few extra dollars but prevents unnecessary stress on families. And keeps their workers more focused on their jobs.)
The second decision came when a new executive moved to the area and insisted on living in that compound.