I was raised in a tiny town in rural America with a population less of less than three thousand people. When I was first married, my husband and I met a couple that were raised in the second largest city in the U.S. with a population of almost four million.
The husband had been in street gangs and literally fought for his life.
When he asked what was dangerous in my hometown, he just about busted a gut when I said… “Gossip.”
Words were no threat to someone who had dodged bullets.
It seemed insensitive and pointless to try to argue that King Solomon really knew what he was talking about when he said, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
When bullets are flying – gossip won’t kill you.
But here’s the thing…
Last week, I visited a new friend that has been an expat for about 4 months in a country that is nothing like the one her family comes from.
When her husband accepted the position, they were promised life in a compound – a guarded and gated community with streets, and parks, and amenities that vary depending on your location.
The day before they left home to begin their expat lives, they were informed that there was a housing shortage in the area they were relocating to. (When it was conveniently too late to get their previous jobs back or easily jump back into the life they had.)
So they boarded the plane anyway. (Would you feel slightly trapped?)
And for the past four months the two of them and their young son have been sharing a two-room efficiency apartment. They have a love seat in their little kitchen and all three of them share a bedroom with their son’s toys. While their shipment of household items sits in storage.
Since their arrival they’ve been advised that it will probably take a year before they can be moved onto a compound, and presented with one alternative that gives them some immediate choices for housing but removes other benefits that they had counted on.
My friend’s situation is mild in comparison to her neighbors:
A few years ago my husband and I moved to a new city in a new state.
Shortly after our move we began visiting churches. (In all of our other moves we visited one church and kept coming back.)
- This time we decided that we wanted to know what all of our options were before we joined one.
- And if we liked some of what we observed we attended more than once.
That decision quickly became a fascinating opportunity to observe towering strengths, glaring weaknesses, powerful vision, synergy or the lack of it – and a whole lot more!
Our observations apply to workplaces too!
…Which one sounds like your organization?
Several years ago I had a long but fun job interview. In that interview I was honest with my prospective employer about my strengths, my passions and my need to be challenged.
I pointed to my historical pattern of two years of achieving in a role, before I got bored and needed to learn something new and needed to make a greater difference. (Which usually meant I moved on…)
The interviewer smiled and nodded and shared that he had the same problem. …Until he came to work in this company…
He had my attention.
I had his attention.
And I got the job.
An owner of a couple of small businesses is frustrated with dwindling profits.
He blames his staff, treats them badly, moves them to different locations, stalls their vacations and refuses to listen to their feedback.
The truth is:
- He has been an absentee owner that has happily collected profits from the businesses while choosing not to be involved in day-to-day operations.
- He hasn’t trained his employees or empowered them to make decisions.
- He has not been engaged with his customers and doesn’t know what they value.
- He hasn’t been proactive about growing his businesses or even keeping up with his competitors.
- His prices are higher than the competition and his facilities are cramped, cluttered, outdated, and equipped with poor quality equipment and tools.