“However glorious an action in itself, it ought not to pass for great
if it be not the effect of wisdom and intention”.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld, French author
“Individual commitment to a group effort –
that is what makes a team work, a company work,
a society work, a civilization work”.
“It is easy to sit up and take notice.
What is difficult is getting up and taking action.”
Al Batt, American writer
Last month I commented on the state of leadership in the U.S. More specifically, I was concerned about everything continually written about poor leadership. Everyone seems aware that it needs to improve. What’s maddening is the fact that, despite unanimous agreement, nothing seems to be getting any better.
I have to wonder why the state of the workplace is such that it is. Everyone seems to recognize the issues. Many see solutions but employee engagement remains low and inept leaders and managers seem more the rule than the exception in the workplace. The workplace is in pain.
I’ve become convinced we’re all part of the problem. The workplace is comprised of individuals. As individuals, we either contribute to the workplace’s problems or make it a better environment. The articles indicate that many people recognize the problems and/or have experienced them but are waiting for someone else to solve them.
What We Can Learn From Lazy Dogs and Long Boarders
I recently had two opportunities to gain some insight into how we deal with painful circumstances. A good friend related a story told to him about two farmers who are chatting one evening after finishing their chores. The first farmer is sitting on his porch in a rocker with his dog sitting beside him. The second farmer is walking by and stops to chat. As they discuss the crops, weather and news for their community the dog occasionally whines. The second farmer finally can’t stand it anymore and says, “What’s the matter with your dog?” The first farmer replies, “He’s sittin’ on a tack.” The second farmer asks, “Why’s he sittin’ on a tack?” The first farmer replies, “Guess it don’t hurt enough yet”.
This past weekend I was walking in a local park by Lake Michigan. I observed a long boarder working on a trick. He was long boarding up an inclined sidewalk and as he reached an adjacent picnic table, he’d jump up, his board spinning completely around in the air under him, and then land on his board on the picnic table’s seat plank closest to the sidewalk. He would then continue to roll along on the seat plank and attempt to jump into the air allowing his board to spin under him once again, then land on the board back on the ground, and roll away. The last portion of the trick was the part that was most troublesome for him to land successfully.
He attempted this trick at least fifty times. He fell about forty-eight of those times often lying on the ground frustrated and in obvious pain. After trying repeatedly and, after landing the trick for the second time, he went to leave. I stopped him and told him I admired his perseverance and then I asked what kept him attempting a trick that was clearly frustrating him and frequently painful when he fell so often. He told me that he kept at it because “When I do land the trick, it’s just the best feeling”.
Here we have examples of two different approaches to pain, one, to whine about it, the other to work through it and make things better.
The Doctor Is In – Put Some ICE On It
My prescription for the pain in the workplace is to ICE it. Each of us needs to contribute to the change that’s needed. It’s time to get off the tack and deal with the pain in the workplace. We need to take it upon on ourselves to exhibit better behavior in the workplace individually as leaders, managers and employees to make it better corporately.
We each need to Intend to make the workplace better
We each need to Commit to doing something about making it better
We each need to Execute our intentions and commitment in creating a better workplace instead of just recognizing the problems and hoping someone else fixes them.
Personally, I want to stop writing about it too. I want to make a difference. The particular solutions needed may vary from workplace to workplace. Needed first are our own individual efforts. Perhaps making the changes will be painful as well but we’ll have the best feeling once we begin to intentionally lead, manage and treat each other better.
Here to serve,
Next month: Hope Is Not a Strategy