Perseverance Is Just A Step Away

In my counseling practice, a daily task is the process of change. Individuals seek out professional counseling and therapy because they perceive that the problems they face are insurmountable. Making change requires perseverance, and this is often difficult to see when change is so often difficult to see.

Another difficult barrier for many is understanding the change has to be made by them, and not someone doing something to them. It also requires a commitment to do something.

Perseverance requires one to look at the problem one step at a time. Change is not an instant process. It requires taking the first step, then another, and another. Just taking that step “ahead” is often enough to motivate and encourage further movement for change.

The concept is simple: We manage adversity by implementing small changes over time, on a consistent basis. There are no shortcuts.

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Functional Unawareness in Organizations

An ever present problem in organizations is developing a lack of awareness. The idea of “functional unawareness” relates to the idea that units and individuals can function in a firm without knowing a problem exists.

What are the reasons for this?

>;;Work units and individuals don’t understand or have clarity about what they are doing.

>;;Staff are led poorly, or the environment is just too toxic for true awareness

>;;A lack of mentoring or coaching is neither available or provided.

>;;There is a culture of “Flying by the seat of your pants” in the organization that blocks off any serious inquiry organizationally or personally.

>;;The negative value system and lack of decorum and discipline dulls any sense of what is really going on.

Developing more awareness requires both an organizational willingness to inquire and get feedback, as well as individuals receiving good coaching. If practiced regularly, there is less possibility that our senses will dull, and the organization will suffer.

Seek Clarity

Today’s world is saturated with information, knowledge and multiple demands. It is certainly popular to be the one that can engage multiple priorities. The reality is many of us live in a world of overload. It’s not necessarily a nice place.

How do you seek clarity amongst the interference? The following are definitive ways to gain clarity in your “world of overload”:

1. Know yourself. Have a clear idea of what you are good at, and what contribution you want to make.

2. If you are not sure about who you are, do deep thinking about your vision for yourself, and what good things you stand for. Use this as the template for which everything else is decided.

3. Avoid being a demanding, “help-rejecting-complainer.”. Take your lumps, move forward. Prepare to drop some balls out of the air. Be with other people, and let yourself be influenced.

4. Connect with those that inspire you. Let that guide your daily reflections.

5. Just be. Life is not perfect, and neither are you.

6. Find the right place to reflect. Exercise, nature walks, reading good literature, or reading your favorite blogs…stay productive, build a reservoir of clarity.

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Failing To Mentor – There Are No Excuses

Organizations that fail to mentor their low to mid-management risk creating a culture of mediocrity. As a new manager (or one that has transferred into that role) there is nothing more fortunate to have a competent mentor or senior manager, that can ensure the right things are done and that your role is practiced properly. The second most fortunate thing is having an organization that cares about its people enough to put experienced managers to mentor new staff and young managers.

There are organizations with the best intentions that simply do not adequately prepare those in leadership roles. Reasons for this are the following:

-No clear vision about the organization

-Placing the wrong people in leadership positions. “Peter Principle” – or those that are in over their head.

-Cronyism, protectionism, corruption

-Multiple or confusing management structures that engage in infighting and do not work together

-Dysfunctional values, or favoritism in the organization where there is no cohesion in the workforce.

-Inadequate supervision of line staff

Over time the effects of poor mentoring will affect the health and fabric of an organization. As a manager or leader, what are you doing to build the people that work for you?

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Expectations = Understanding

One of the biggest problems in human interaction is improperly communicated expectations. As a manager, leader, parent or friend, you’ll likely be confronted with situations where clear communication is required.

Breakdowns in communication is often equal to unclear communication. Here are the key sources of failed expectations:

1. Information communicated does not always equal information understood

2. Your perceptions about what is being said is based on your own home movies, and not the meaning of the other person.

3. Personal distraction, disruptions, interruptions.

4. The receiver of the “expectation” is self-absorbed, or simply has a different agenda.

5. The person receiving is not receiving, just listening to respond.

Any of these situations will lead to potentially failed expectations – in other words:

Expectation success – must meet (or =) Expectation understanding.

In our management teams, groups, family units, or organizations, how many of us actually try to ensure we have “Expectation Understanding?”

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Don’t Stand In Your Organization’s Way

In many environments and roles, leadership or otherwise, maintaining healthy boundaries with others is an important method to manage others. Setting good boundaries, protects an organization’s resources, maintains priorities and organizational direction, and prevents the wrong decisions from being made.

There is a fine line between keeping good boundaries and becoming a barrier to others, their growth, or development toward a goal. The ways boundaries can hurt are the following:

1. Stifles thinking, and problem solving

2. Enables the wrong behaviors in an organization

3. Keeps people from stepping up to meet challenges

4. Becomes an “unspoken” no – that prevents progress

5. Keeps others from solving their own problems – maintains dependency

6. Restricts opportunity for customers and our response

Boundaries can be a barrier where it artificially creates control, where it is not needed. This is for the benefit of the leader who needs control, or there are insecurities in the organization. It can stifle creative thinking, and emotionally create obstacles for workers or even worse yet, dependence on the leader. Examples of “boundaries” that may be unproductive in an organization:

– Complex rules, routines, procedures
– Rigid hierarchy and reporting structures
– Not fostering self-sufficiency or independent ideas in the workplace
– preventing access to services by prospective customers
– disrespectful interpersonal interactions

Rules and boundaries are needed to be sure, but when it starts to stifle progress toward the vision and goal, the above problems points should be considered. So much of what we believe is good for organizations, may be getting in the way and preventing the organization from going to a new level.

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