The Great Divide and How You Can Build a Bridge To Cross It

We’ve been back in the U.S. for nearly 6 weeks. Watching the divide we witnessed across the ocean.  Aching as it appears to be growing deeper and wider.

I know I’m not alone in my concern for our country or in my desire to be a part of the solution. Several of my leadership connections have been sharing both struggles and wisdom in their blogs.

Alli Polin, Erin Schreyer, Steve Keating and Jesse Lyn Stoner have each written important articles to help us build bridges across that divide.

  • Each of the image quotes below highlight something from their articles that I found especially powerful.
  • Each of their original articles are linked after each image through their name.

If you are struggling with the current state of our union – I encourage you to:

  • Read each one
  • Watch the Conversation Safari video at the end of this post

And then make strategic choices to be the change you want to see

Strategically NOT THINKING – Is it really safer and easier?

"Unsuccessful people focus their thinking on survival. Average people focus their thinking on maintenance. Successful people focus their thining on progress." -John MaxwellUnsuccessful people focus their thinking on survival.Average people focus their thinking on maintenance.Successful people focus their thining on progress.--John Maxwell

Have you ever worked in a place that is caught in a cycle that is NOT working?

  • But instead of digging for the root cause, titled leaders wave “magic wands” that cause some people to disappear and others to appear?

Have you ever wondered if anyone recognizes that new faces are just another Band-Aid that is being used to cover a growing cancer instead of treating it?

Once upon a time, I had a conversation with someone about a problem that needed to be solved.

We’d faced this problem before.

  • The first solution had been to replace a person.
  • A few months later we were having a very similar problem with a different person.

We both agreed that the problem was not only unresolved, it had gotten worse.  And we agreed that we needed a solution.

  • But we disagreed about what that looked like.
  • I wanted to know why a second person was struggling in the same position that someone else had failed in.
  • He didn’t want to waste time flipping rocks trying to understand why, he simply wanted the new person replaced, as quickly as possible.

When problems surface, it is so tempting to rush for the magic wand.

It may appear to be faster, easier or even the “safest” way to appease the investors or the CEO.

  • However, waving magic wands that make some faces disappear while new faces appear, doesn’t solve deeper issues.
  • And titled leaders that prefer magic wands to real solutions  – won’t be around very long.

Below are two true stories:

 1.  A high-potential employee is constantly promoted within a company for more than a decade. 

When he is promoted again he can’t get the tools and support he needs and begins to struggle. He’s not a quitter and doesn’t know how to fail, so he sacrifices all of his vacation and family time and works instead.  But no matter how many hours he puts in, he is treated as if he is the problem and eventually fired.

Then another high potential/long-term employee is relocated to take the same role, in the same place, with the same leader, in the same environment.

And the cycle begins again…

What if:

  • The employees that are continually recruited for this role are not the problem?
  • The training and support needs to be improved?
  • The culture in that department is causing people to fail?
  • The titled leader in that department is the source of the problem?

*What is it costing the organization to continually lose long-term, high performing employees in this one black hole?  

2.  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.

What if:

  • The employees need more training and more support?
  • The declining business is caused by the owner’s lack of presence and engagement with his customers?
  • His customer are leaving because competitors have better service, pricing, equipment and facilities?

*What is is costing that business owner to continue to operate in this way?  


Please share:  

  • Have you ever worked in a culture that discourages thinking?

Want more on this topic?  

5 Ways Assumptions Impact Real Problem Solving

5 Ways Assumptions Impact Problem Solving

I’ve been working with a group of pre and early teens and we’ve been talking about perceptions and reality. In our last meeting, I asked if they have ever greeted someone and not been greeted in return. Emphatically – yes!

So I broke them up into small groups and asked them to come up with a list of at least 15 reasons why someone they greeted would not respond.

At first they listed things like this:

  • They hate me
  • They are mean
  • They are rude
  • They are a bully
  • They are racist

It took awhile for them to start coming up with reasons like this:

Is Gossip an Organizational Time Bomb? …Seriously?!

gossip

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…

10 Things Great Managers Know (& Do)

I was recently visiting with someone about the goals of young professionals in a specific location. She said that everyone wants to be a manager.

So I asked why:

  • Was it about the title?
  • The perceived power?
  • The paycheck?
  • The perception that it is an easier job?

She said they want to sit behind a big desk and sign things.

Instantly I visualized a “manager” sitting behind a big desk with their feet resting on the desk reading a newspaper. A clap of his hands and someone comes running with a hot beverage. A loud shout results in several people running into his office – varying ages, heights, and ethnicities – all cowering in fear. “Yes Boss…”  (True story!)