In this article, I’ll give you two examples of Advice:
- The first one that is according to the theory, is positive, acceptable, and it seems correct, but unfortunately, it is general and useless, and,
- The second one that might seem obvious, almost like a small detail, and sometimes might not be pleasant or comfortable, but it is very practical, actionable, and useful.
But before that let’s use a metaphor for exploring the Business World like we would do Star-gazing and we would be trying to find on that clear beautiful night sky the constellation that is holding your zodiac sign. Since we’re still in June, let’s search for Gemini together, and for that we have the following representations of this constellation:
|Three of the depictions of the Gemini constellation|
|The brief Theory|
|The artistic Model and Representation of the Theory|
|The simple pragmatic model|
And here is the beautiful but complex reality
(as captured by wallpaperflare.com):
The following questions are worthy to be asked:
- Is the beautiful artistic model (picture no 2.) useful?
- Is the Theory (picture no 1) enough to help you find Gemini on this sky?
- Can you see the benefit of a simple but pragmatic model (picture no 3)? at least for learning purposes for now.
- Even with the simple model, could you find Gemini in that picture of the night sky (no 4 below the table)?
- If you look this evening in the sky (assuming you still read this article by the Summer Solstice and it is not cloudy) can you find Gemini in your sky?
And some answers, before we come back to our Business world.
- Even with a simple pragmatic model, the universe of information is so big that sometimes you need an experienced eye to help you, at least to save you time.
- Sometimes the artistic representation of the theory is not helpful, not for learning, not for practically finding what you’re searching for, and I would say, not even for depicting the term Gemini in this case.
- Another important detail is that the Gemini constellation can be best observed in the sky from February to April, and this detail comes in handy, at least for planning on how to train your eye in the beginning of this beautiful journey into star-gazing, and maybe you spend time this summer on finding Libra and Lupus among others.
Now that the Star-gazing lesson is finished, let’s return to our Business World. It turns out that things are very similar. There is a wealth of information out there and lots of structured advice, but not all the models and recommendations are useful, and most of the times, when dealing with chronic issues, the solution is not in the trendy general recommendation, but in a detail that was overlooked by the leadership, and can be obvious to the expert eye. It is said that “Good Strategy is deciding on what NOT to do” and that is exactly for this reason: to save your resources that might be invested into working on trendy general recommendations that you don’t need or you already have at a healthy level, and rather focus these resources on the few main things that will unblock a huge amount of your professionals’ energy and allow them to have clarity on the business. No organization or business has time and energy to fix everything, but every organization has that minimum of energy to focus on fixing their most important thing in order to release that big chunk of energy trapped in the way their people work together or in the way they focus (or don’t focus) on the growth of the business.
Let’s come back to the two types of advice I promised in the beginning of this article:
- “Focus on the people!”, “Work-life balance”, “People first”, “The human factor”, “A Culture of Leadership” (whatever that might mean), are nice trendy slogans, but in reality they are too general to be actionable and they get lost in the needs of the business, sometimes achieving in reality the opposite in the work environment. Sometimes, some leaders are using these slogans to excuse their low performance in front of the shareholders and other times someone is being scapegoated because of these slogans because the real reasons can not be officially stated. These slogans are the beautiful “useless” model behind the theory of the Gemini constellation from the above metaphor. However, stating them like that is much better than stating the opposite, so we should not dismiss them completely.
- The second type of advice is: Do a proper Organizational Culture Diagnosis with a reliable tool and a reliable expert, and go through a proper alignment between what you have currently in your organization, your wishes, and the business needs. This recommendation might seem like an uncomfortable step to take, because of all the “hot-air” programs out there that eat up your budget and block your resources in a perpetuum state of change, but done with a real expert and a powerful instrument this discomfort is removed. ReliableCulture does the Diagnosis in maximum 120 minutes of your resources’ time scattered across 30 days, while the Alignment takes maximum three days scattered across 30-60 days and the Transformation maximum 11 days of support spread across the remaining 10-11 months of the year. The budget is under your control and will be a reflection of the improvement your organization will be experiencing. The advice that might come out of the diagnosis might be surprising sometimes, like: you’re missing a structural meeting, or that your meetings are too long, or that you’re spending too much time on coaching people instead of letting them evolve and take initiative, or other things that might apply only to your particular case. As a rule, a general advice helps in general, and sometimes you might be lucky to get exactly the advice that you need from a random presentation or article, but some other times you might get even more confused, because you might already be doing everything that was recommended and your organization might still be struggling. So that is why my advice is always focused on your particular situation, with your particular desires from your business, with your particular Organizational Culture in your particular industry and, most importantly, with your particular personality as a leader.
I close this article with the question: How much does it cost your organization one year of running with a chronic undiagnosed issue? especially after a traumatic pandemic. Summer time for the majority of the professionals is always a time to relax, but if you are a leader in an organization that could do better, let’s use this time and prepare the organization for a powerful autumn, especially since the pandemic’s influences become more predictable. Do you feel any of the following happening in your organization?: a few of your key departments are constantly fighting, there is a general state of being overwhelmed, people are dodging work, people are feeling de-energized, unmotivated, they are not taking responsibility, there is a need for micro-management, there is a negative impact on efficiency because of the move to work remotely, there is a good opportunity to expand but there is the fear of losing the organization’s values, or other people related vague issues? If yes, let’s work together! We will do it in a safe way for you, both from a time and a budget point of view, so that at any moment in time you have full transparency of the options for the near future and have the choice to abort a program you feel might not deliver according to your expectations (very unlikely, but you will have that option).
About George Lupascu-Pruna
George is a practitioner on Organizational Culture, Group behavior, and Cultural Differences, and has worked in many industries for many functions to help his partners drastically improve their ways of working.
If you would like to start a collaboration, and make a conscious shift as a Leader, or apply a Reliable Organizational Diagnosis, or develop a functional program on Driving more Inclusiveness,