It is often said that we are what we eat; that we are what we think; we are what we do, etc., not just what we say. Often our personal/professional lives hit blocks or seem to progress in fits and starts, with many reversals, dead ends and disappointments… And we thought we had a plan! We thought we were going in the right direction. It all seemed to make sense. Why hasn’t it worked? Why isn’t it working?
While in life positive outcomes are seldom guaranteed, there may be considerations, which if brought to deeper, awareness and engaged with consciousness would support our subjective power, courage and conviction in necessary ways to help us develop and direct our lives with greater resource, sustainability and ultimate success.
Whew, that’s a long sentence with lots of ideas in it. Let’s look at it again. Considerations, if deeply explored and engaged, could support who we are and what we do to make our personal life and our work life, better… Wouldn’t that be nice?
QUESTIONS TO ASK OURSELVES:
- Is what we think important? Is how we see things and consequently what we see, important? Is awareness an important factor? Does it make a difference? Does it matter?
- Is it different than what we believe? Than what we say? Than what we do?
- Do actions need to be consistent with our beliefs for successful outcomes?
- What are the messages we send to others?
- Can self-examination and awareness help us figure out our personal/professional life course in a better way? Is it worth the time? The results?
Perhaps the answers to these questions seem obvious. But, maybe not. If they don’t appear important, do not read on.
There are a number of ways to look at these questions. The answers may unfold differently depending on whether we are addressing small, more personal issues or grappling with large professional challenges that impact many other lives and careers.
Here is a business example where a lack of awareness, clarity, and the existence of inconsistencies caused serious consequences: where what was being said or possibly intended was not congruent with what was being done.… In this case saying one thing and believing or doing something different or inconsistent, without engaging deeper awareness made a huge difference to the outcome and success of the challenge.
There once was a company (it has since merged with another and is a shade of its former self, but that is another story) that was endeavoring to restructure. Upper management brought in a top notch management consulting group to create a leaner, more efficient organization. That is what upper management said. The belief as stated (possibly, upper management may have actually wanted the Division to fail for more complex reasons) was to develop greater cost efficiency and therefore more profitability realization. The company would flourish and prosper. Unfortunately, ultimately a division of the company that was an important asset had to be closed down because despite the efforts of the consulting group, it did not reflect an increase in profitability. But, perhaps it could have.
The management consulting group worked to create a leaner operation. Certain assets were sold off and efficiencies were put into effect. Many people were laid-off. But it didn’t work. People with legacy and historical knowledge were laid-off and those slotted-in to replace them, put simply, didn’t know what they were doing in these new roles. The people laid-off were determined to be too expensive to carry because for any one salary, two new and less experienced people could be hired. Many who remained were now multi-tasking more than one work effort and in reassigned, unfamiliar areas of the Division.
So, there were now fewer employees and many of those retained or even newly hired were not familiar with, and in some cases knowledgeable, regarding their new work area assignments. And the older employees who could have helped them were no longer there. Some particular areas of effort, as part of the efficiency reorganization, were set up in an assembly-line fashion. However, since new members of the team or people in new roles weren’t familiar with these new tasks, and having no one to learn from, the results more often demonstrated a very backed-up assembly line.
Worse yet, departments were de-stabilized. What neither the upper management of the company nor the outside consulting group took into consideration, indeed the consulting group did not even factor this element into their final analysis of the Division’s failure, was the subjective impact this reorganization had on the employees. Simply put, the outside consulting group never took into account in their analysis the intra and inter departmental dynamics that may have been going on which contributed to the inefficiency to begin with, much less allowed for support to these departments in the wake of such radical destabilization.
Had anyone really looked at the important elements of what was going on to begin with, they would have realized that the departments were functioning like little villages that sometimes didn’t get along and feuded with the other villages. The power plays and passive-aggressive behaviors were left unnoticed and unattended. Lack of awareness and/or willingness to deal with the less tangible issues in play resulted in costly and ultimately fatal-to-the-Division consequences.
What management said they wanted to do, create more efficiency and profitability, and what they believed were issues requiring remediation in order to accomplish this objective, were not fully examined, and therefore not understood by upper management or by the consulting group. Not only was the lack of awareness, lack of deeper comprehension, lack of consistency in effecting change, lack of support to employees in obvious distress not a successful way to move forward… It was catastrophic! And the company paid a small fortune for this reorganization effort which ultimately did close this Division.
In the end, upper management and the consulting group just chalked it all up to a sort of “you win some, you lose some” result. We might all say, “huh”? But this is an example of what can happen in setting out to achieve an important/complex objective without actual clarity, deeper awareness and insight….Without really knowing what is going on and having a broader vision yet trying to tackle issues in a manner we “think” will do the trick. The Division was closed, and income which would have benefited the company and augmented their reputation was lost.
How often do we find ourselves focusing on the wrong end of the problems and associated challenges with which we are dealing? How often do we seek the more expedient, the quicker solutions because we not only do not take into account what is necessary to deal with the bigger picture but worse yet, we really don’t want to deal with it, to actually do the work. It’s probably safe to say it happens to all of us sometimes and in some measure. But does it have to?
*Reference to the MGM movie “The Wizard of Oz”.