“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” – Albert Einstein
“Recognizing power in another does not diminish your own.” – Joss Whedon
“As a general rule…people ask for advice only in order not to follow it; or if they do follow it, in order to have someone to blame for giving it.” – Alexander Dumas
“Of all the forces in the universe, the hardest to overcome is the force of habit.” – Terry Pratchett
“If a person can build a fence around himself, he is bound to do it.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
I wanted to begin with this collage of quotes to place context to my observation that we tend to make things much more difficult than they really need to be. I am fascinated by this because there are so many things we cannot control, you would think that the last we want to do is create our own set of problems that could further exacerbate an already challenging project.
Over the last 10 days, I have seen the following:
- Lack of communication that has lead to frustration and will require additional investments of both time and money as a result
- Spur of the moment decision making without discussion with others involved which could negatively impact the chances for long term success of the project
- Making decisions based on assumptions/personal opinions and, to make matters worse, avoiding/ignoring actual available data
- Overall lack of concern for others involved in the process
- Abandonment of duties once it was clear the project was not going to meet expectations
- Failure to establish any metrics of success before beginning
- Taking shortcuts to save money resulting in total expenditures greater than those budgeted originally
- Avoidance of post project discussion /blaming others for lack of commitment
While all of these are significant issues, the most dramatic impact has been on the human beings involved in the process. The challenge now is to try to shift their focus from failure to success and get back to the business of helping others as that is the primary mission of the organization. It will not be easy as they do not feel valued right now given recent events and it will take time and effort to heal these wounds.
It is quite amazing to me that there are still leaders (and I use that term loosely) in organizations who do not realize that the only sustainable competitive advantage of any business is people. Obviously that knife cuts both ways because people (all of us) are emotional, opinionated, stubborn, quirky, and a myriad of other things…but we also do amazing things are willing to go above and beyond what is required or expected when we feel appreciated, respected, and valued.
All we have to do is realize that with every interaction we have with others there are only 2 options...build up or tear down. Which would you choose?