Thursday, June 20, 2013

If you know it, speak it

A blog I value reading every week is from the folk at Enablers Network. My thanks to them for their most recent blog which alerted me to a brilliant TED talk 'Dare to disagree'by Margaret Heffernan.



I am a big fan of Margaret for her excellent book 'Wilful Blindness' which sadly I see a lot of in my work. Wilful blindness is one of the great barriers to progress in the world today.

One of the 6 BIG challenges facing leaders in the workplace is that most people don't yet excel at having conversations about performance when there is difficulty, conflict or disagreement.

This is a skill issue yet more it is an issue of the will.

A key factor in this is elephants in the room.

Most of what could be better about an organisation is known yet unsaid (it is said underground and away from the organisation). For 22 years I have been walking into organisations as an adviser and I am told, usually within an hour, of what could be better and yet no one has raised issues with insiders for fear of reprisal or fear for their jobs and other nasty reasons. A common reason is a cultural issue of not talking about what can be perceived as unpleasant.

Sometimes I name the elephants myself. Once or twice I have been thrown out for doing so! Usually I mentor people to name the elephants themselves. The outcome usually is relief and very quickly elephants are humanely removed. Soon creativity and innovation happen. Often the reaction is why was this not spoken about before?

The known not being said and a failure to excel at having conversations about performance when there is difficulty, conflict or disagreement is costing organisations billions, probably trillions. The biggest cost though is to human life.

Most of the great disasters of my life-time could have been avoided, and most of the trouble in organisations too. It takes someone on the inside to speak up and to do so long before a consultant or an auditor arrives.

If you know it, speak it, otherwise you are guilty of wilful blindness and a tragedy could be about to happen.

If you are afraid, for whatever reason, please find an ally inside and/or seek outside help today.
A great place to begin is watch Margaret Heffernan's TED talk.


Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Ian

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