Was this article helpful?
Is it Wrong or Just an Opportunity Waiting to Happen?
Getting over having been ‘wronged’ can slow progress to a screeching halt while everyone tries to avoid pointing fingers. While focused on the blame, real resolution is still waiting; slowed or avoided because no one wants to admit being wrong.
I was chatting with a client recently about how hard it is sometimes to recover and move forward after something has gone wrong. Getting over the sensation of having been ‘wronged’ or of being the party who’s committed the ‘wrongful act’ is a process all by itself that, in business, can slow progress to a screeching halt while everyone tries to avoid the pointing fingers. My client said something powerful: ‘people would rather admit things are imperfect than admit to being wrong’. In business, however, it's common for the political environment to emphasize the need to compete for attention, recognition, or pats on the back. The goal here is either to assign or avoid blame. And the result of either of these efforts is to ignore the more important focus which is the one from which all involved parties could gain: what didn’t work, how can it be avoided going forward, and what can we learn as a result?
In the meantime, while focused on the blame game, real resolution to the problem is still waiting; slowed or avoided because no one wants to admit being wrong. If you, the Motivator-in-Chief, can recognize that in imperfection is the opportunity to improve rather than blame, there may be a key to moving things along, avoid the need to accuse and speed improvements. Not so easy to do yet it sure beats the alternative poisoned environment. While you’re wondering if this is how things are done at your place of business, consider these questions:
1. Is your business environment one in which people are rewarded for an innovative attempt or only if they create some recognizable success after the attempt? While the latter may have some immediate, quantifiable whooppee impact, the former will net you an employee who’ll keep trying to make things better for you and your business.
2. Is assigning blame for what went wrong more powerful than seeking process improvements? The former may puff up an ego while the latter may continue to build a business (and may puff multiple egos, if that’s meaningful for you.)
3. Do your employees compete with each other instead of other companies in your category of provider? While this might be useful in a strictly sales environment, in every other way it diminishes the greater growth and productivity that can come from the shared resources and support of a team.
4. Do you have a file filed with mis-steps taken by employees that you’ll dust off during the ’someday-in-the-future’ annual review? Will you take it on faith that you're missing out - at least 12 important ways as Wonder Bread used to say - on the power of well-designed performance reviews.
I wonder which of these environmental norms will lead you beyond ‘imperfect and getting better’ and which will keep you in the ‘wronged’ (and often poisonous business) sensibility?
Learn more about the author, Andrea Feinberg.
Comment on this article
No one has posted a comment yet. Be the first!
- small business
- small business success
- leadership development
- management style
- employee development