Here is an article from Phil about the pressure to conform to the prevailing culture within an organisation, and how to break free.
I was commuting on a train recently and found myself listening to the conversations going on around me in the carriage. My fellow commuters were all business people, all absorbed in their latest panic. Papers spread across their laps, or on tables; laptops open with phones pinned to their ears. Nothing new in that I hear you saying!
What drew me in to their conversations was the tone of their voices, the rhythm of their conversations.
They were all involved in a game- the pass the buck or the blame game. Comments I jotted down sounded like this-
“What can you remember about Jane’s behaviour in our last meeting, she is complaining about George and I need to silence her before the next meeting?”
“What did Alan say about the marketing plan for next month? I am not happy with the impact on our numbers, it’s going to make us look bad at the performance meeting.”
“There is a problem with the order and shipment. How can we make it look ok? Michael is on my back. I need a favour from you on this one. You owe me”.
“The budget forecast that was agreed last month has been changed. They are asking me for another 10% by tomorrow night I need to find a way of shunting cost over to Region B without them knowing what options do we have?”
“I have worked 80 hours over the last week, and I only get paid for 35. No one seems to care. I am just a cog in a machine, I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up: no one is listening to me”.
How many of these sound familiar to you?
It was hard to tell just from listening what level of seniority these individuals had in their organisations, but they all obviously has some form of leadership accountability. The thing that seemed stark to me was the level of discontentment that each felt in the moment. And yet to most, if not all, it probably did not even register in their minds eye, tolerated as part of everyday life – the price you pay as part of organisational life. Life does not have to be this way!
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