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//Have you gotten the “Wake-up” call to be straightforward?

Have you gotten the “Wake-up” call to be straightforward?

2018-06-14T18:44:51+00:00

If you want to make a difference, and be the difference, you cannot be afraid of the truth. This is the only way that you can find your way to be straightforward and productive.

Quality & Me

Subir shares short stories about what people do to make a difference everywhere they go. We can make huge contributions to the way we function as a society by standing out as an example within our own community: at work, at our places of worship, among our colleagues, friends, and family. All it takes is the courage to step up and being straightforward, thoughtful, accountable, and resilient.

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The Ice Cream Maker
The Power of Design for Six
The Power of Six Sigma
Organization 21c

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A director I was consulting with always expected people to come to him.

This guy really believed that no news was good news. Like a lot of senior level executives, he expected people to come to him, not vice versa.

The problem was, no news wasn’t good news—it was the opposite. Problems weren’t getting resolved.

He asked me to help him figure out why the company wasn’t meeting its goals. Interestingly, he didn’t include his own team members in the discussion. Only me.

I told him he needed to spend more time on the floor–where the action was. Spend some time just listening to what is going on.

We joined a meeting already in progress. The discussion was heated; clearly people in the meeting weren’t happy.

When we walked in, everyone was shocked into silence—they hadn’t seen this director outside of his office in months.

After a few seconds, the director took my lead, and told everyone to pretend he wasn’t there, and to continue their meeting.

That’s when something really interesting happened.

Instead of ignoring the director’s presence, one engineer used it as an opportunity. He spoke up and out—in a refreshingly straightforward manner.

This engineer wasn’t concerned about what his response might mean to him personally—or professionally. It was unusual behavior in this company.

He told the director point blank that unless the organization invested in improving its products, two or three years down the road, the company would be dealing with recalls, or even lawsuits.

It took guts for this engineer to tell the director truth. It was, unfortunately, rare behavior in this organization.

In this case, the director responded positively, even thanking the engineer for being so candid. I think it was the “wake-up call” he needed. In fact, he told everyone in the room that “good enough isn’t enough.” They still had a long way to go, but it was a good first step.

If you want to make a difference, and be the difference, you cannot be afraid of the truth.

When has pride pushed you back?

Pride exists at the organizational level and can just as easily become tainted.  Think about it.  How many times have you witnessed senior level executives not acknowledging a problem? The reason?  Pride.  Ego.  They don’t want to admit that there is a problem because of ego:  someone else will think they’re weak, or that they’ll lose face.  To admit your decision was wrong means you are weak, correct?  Absolutely the opposite!

Step back so you can move forward

When I need to recharge my batteries, I usually go for a long walk. Sometimes by myself, sometimes with one of my kids. I always end up feeling refreshed and reenergized when I return. It’s critical that you’re passionate about what you do—otherwise, what’s the point? However, there’s a difference between passion and obsession. Let me explain.

Do you work in a fake culture?

If you are not being true to yourself in all aspects of your life, you’re living in a fake culture. As a leader, a fake culture makes it impossible to develop a caring mindset. Without a caring mindset, you’ll never make a difference, or be the difference.

Frances Hesselbein Medal for Excellence in Leadership and Service

Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are? Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how to explain why Botswana has become one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while other African nations, such as Zimbabwe, the Congo, and Sierra Leone, are mired in poverty and violence?