There isn’t much more frustrating than road signs that don’t help you find your way. If you have a GPS system, you can find your way no matter what the road signs say. But if you don’t, you sometimes have to guess and hope you end up at the right place.
In organizations, the best road signs are the people. Pay attention to the signals you are getting from them. Ignoring them can lead to dead ends, or worse, bridge-out disasters.
WHEN PEOPLE ARE…
LOST: It is because the organization (including the leadership) doesn’t know where it is, and probably didn’t know where it was going before it got lost. [Denial of reality is often the problem.]
UNSURE: It is because the organization is always changing direction—west today, east tomorrow, and then west again. [This is often a result of a latest-fad strategy. And since the latest fad is always changing…well, you get the idea.]
CONFUSED: It is because the road signs are in conflict, one pointing north and one pointing south. [One leader is saying one thing; another leader is saying something different.]
UNCLEAR: It is because communication is unclear: “Do you have any idea what he/she said?” [The responsibility for clarity is with the communicator, not the listener. What you think you said and what people heard may not be the same thing.]
PERPLEXED: It is because the values, policies, etc., don’t apply to everyone. [Preferential treatment for some will kill your credibility as a leader.]
BEWILDERED: It is because they have no idea “why” the organization is headed in a particular direction. [Purpose, values, vision, etc., are not understood.]
DISORIENTED: It is because they are LOST, UNSURE, CONFUSED, UNCLEAR, PERPLEXED, AND BEWILDERED. The organization seems to be spinning out of control and they feel helpless. [This is an organization that is nearing the end. Read How The Mighty Fall by Jim Collins.]
Wonder where your organization is headed? Look at the road signs.
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© Copyright 2021 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner