When my husband said we were asked to move to a giant sandbox on the other side of the world my stomach churned so hard I had to sit down.
How was this possible? We said we would go ANYWHERE in the world except – THERE! Scenes from movies and the news melded with my own fears and questions were fired off so rapidly my husband could not reply.
A “yes” wasn’t possible if I could not change my thinking:
- From the losses to the possible gains.
- From the challenges to the possible opportunities.
- From fear to faith.
In 1999 I read Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for the first time. One of the stories in that book that captured my attention was about David Lilienthal, a man that was commissioned to head the new Atomic Energy Commission.
He brought together a very diverse bunch of influential individuals. And although they had a huge agenda and the press was pushing them for results he believed that efficiency was not the first priority – synergy was. So he wisely invested time facilitating relationship building, causing them to deeply understand each other’s history, goals, passions, and perspectives and transforming a group of individuals into a passionate team.
This is how Stephen Covey describes the result: “The respect among the members of the commission was so high that if there was disagreement, instead of opposition and defense, there was a genuine effort to understand. The attitude was, “If a person of your intelligence and competence and commitment disagrees with me, then there must be something to your disagreement that I don’t understand, and I need to understand it. You have a perspective, a frame of reference I need to look at.”
Over the past few months I’ve had several opportunities to visit with groups of people whose lives are being impacted by policies they don’t like or agree with.
Most of them have communicated their concerns with the first level key stakeholder – hoping for a fast change. Now it’s clear that although that person cares, change can’t happen from that level.
So individually some of them have:
- Sent one email to the decision maker.
- Sent more than one email to the decision maker.
- Sent one email and attended one meeting.
Collectively their over-riding belief is that the key-stakeholder can’t be trusted and change just isn’t going to happen.
So most have stopped communicating while others never bothered to communicate directly with the one person that can make change happen.
At the same time, they are still so troubled by the situation that each time the topic comes up, almost all of them continue to express lots of frustration and absorb the not so positive energy of those around them.
So why persist?
For years I’ve been asking executives and hiring managers what their biggest challenge is. At least 90% of the time I get the same answer: “People.” That comment is quickly followed by an explanation about how hard it is to find enough qualified and caring people to do the work.
It is interesting to note that some titled leaders are so desperate for people that they hire anyone that can “fog a mirror” which often results in skill gaps and behavioral issues that can damage their culture and reputation and stunt their growth.
Other titled leaders hold so tightly to a specific checklist of requirements that they miss hiring a stronger applicant that has the passion, drive and emotional intelligence to take their department and organization to the next level.
Often their decision to wait a long time to fill a needed position adds stress to their teams, and doesn’t guarantee a cultural fit, the drive or the fresh perspective that instigate growth.
If your organization is struggling to find smart, caring, committed people that will improve your culture, your service and your reputation then consider this.
TODAY is the International Day of Peace!
This is the 4th article in a series to highlight what each of us can do to bring more peace to our world.
- The first three articles are linked at the bottom of this post.
I’m honored to include the post below from Jane Perdue, the CEO/Principal at Braithwaite Innovation Group, a friend and one of the co-author’s of the book, The Character-Based Leader… Instigating A Leadership Revolution… One Person at a Time.
I live in Charleston, South Carolina. In just a few days this past summer, my heart went from being broken by a senseless crime motivated by hate to being uplifted by people choosing to forgive, not fight or retaliate. Given my awe and respect at how my community handled this tragedy, Chery’s invitation to write about how leaders can limit division and create peace was incredibly serendipitous.
Retaliation and revenge are powerful motivators. We want to right the real or perceived wrong.