If I ran the place it would be so much better

If I were in charge of my organisation, things would be so much better.

Another day sitting at your desk, watching the chaos all around you in your organisation. Blaming the senior management for their incompetence or complaining about how other teams are letting you down. Working with people that get paid more and should work harder and know more than you, but don’t

We have all had the thought, “If I ran the place, it would be so much better” if only they prioritised this, organised that better, communicated better, got rid of that process, added this process. If any of this sounds familiar, then you are not alone. It’s all part of the human condition where we think we can do better than others based on our perception of the problems.

The reality, I am afraid, is rather different as organisations are full of complexities and context that we are unaware of. There is a lot more behind every decision management makes. More than that, though, organisations are only as good as the people in them; and whether those people are all pulling in the same direction.

What have you contributed?

My question to you then is this; what have you done to make the difference you think your organisation needs? Have you changed anything about the way you work? Or, are you part of the majority that complain but wouldn’t dream of thinking that perhaps you are part of the problem and not part of the solution? Phrases like “It’s not my job” or “I can’t make a difference” means that you have given your responsibility away to others. You play it safe by fantasising about your untested strategies with no risk of failure in the real world. Everyone has wonderful ideas they have heard from friends or read about.

These ideas may be good in theory, but there is a chance they don’t translate well into your organisation, and they won’t work overnight. People easily share success stories, but they seldom talk about the perseverance and resilience needed to succeed. To create change in an organisation, we need to create a movement with a community of like-minded individuals to make a significant impact, so it’s not up to just one person to save the day.

“If I ran the place, it would be so much better”, but you do run your own life, a place where you are responsible for all your choices

Now, look at your own life like the organisation you work for:

Which areas don’t work well together? What relationships have broken down? Where is communication poor? What areas have conflicting objectives?

My challenge to you is to get your own internal organisation in order. It’s hard, uncomfortable, and easier to avoid or deflect, but when you put the time into doing this, the results are transformational. The reason I point the spotlight on ourselves is that we usually externalise internal struggles. The things that annoy or frustrate us about others are usually things we have not resolved within ourselves. Until we deal with these internal issues, the external manifestations of these are like an itch you can’t scratch. We end up projecting them onto others, so we don’t have to deal with them ourselves.

 

Imagine a scenario where your organisation hires a manager who is delivery focused and hands-on. They have succeeded in their career with a wealth of experience and are comfortable in that space.

You want the manager to be more soft-skilled, focused and empowering, but you are disappointed because they fail to meet your expectations.

The relationship breaks down; you sulk and share your frustrations with like-minded individuals. The manager begins to sense a hint of animosity and ironically has not got the soft skills to repair the relationship.

In your head, the responsibility lies with what you believe is the incompetent manager, when in fact, it’s a situation of your own making. You have put your non-verbalized expectations on to someone who has no idea what you want or needs. You then expect them to develop skills magically overnight without any training, professional coaching or previous experience. Does this sound fair or reasonable?

Repairing relationships

Ironically, your own lack of soft skills in dealing with this personality type has contributed to the situation. Your emotional reaction to this situation is usually your own unresolved hang-ups, which probably goes back to being controlled and being told what to do earlier in your life. Ironically, are you now not behaving the same way towards your manager?

The way to repair this relationship is to identify a problem to solve and ask for the manager’s help. The act of asking for help strengthens relationships by implicitly saying that I value your opinion; therefore, I value you. The challenge is to create a joint endeavour to overcome a shared struggle which will help you understand how you both deal with situations and learn from each other.

Change your own life first.

The challenge is to change your own life and tackle your own internal dysfunctional organisation. In doing this, you will develop skills and experiences which you can then share with others. You can be the change you want to see in the worldLeading by example is a more effective way to influence people around you than telling them what they should do. You will no longer be the critique from the outside but an active member of a transformational community. Only in this way will your organisation be an environment that you are proud of. You will finally feel like you belong somewhere.

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