We are all familiar with the expression “the elephant in the room.” It is something that I have come to expect and even seek out when facilitating others. The reality, though, is that we each have our own personal pachyderms that dutifully follow us through life and haunt our work. The longer that we put off doing things, the more that we defer problems and the longer that we avoid pursuing our goals and ambitions, the larger and more omnipresent becomes the grey mammoth in our grey matter. You can learn to make the elephant go away. First, though, you need to recognize it for what it is, and what it represents.
We often get advice on what we should do, how we should behave, how we can get better. Suggestions are often couched as constructive. They’re theoretically helpful. And yet they most assuredly are often not. And they tell us a lot more about the person offering the guidance than they do about the person being “helped.”
We have an enormous tendency to confuse confidence with competence. We want someone who can do the work, but we tend to trust the person that looks the part. Doing so is inherently dangerous, and points to some significant biases we may not even recognize.
Schedules are a source of tyranny. They often force us to produce, even when we don’t want to. Leadership and success isn’t always about endurance and sheer bloody-mindedness, though. Listen to the cues along the way.
Leading change is a challenging undertaking. In particular, we must as individuals find the confidence to lead in the face of indifference, uncertainty and sometimes outright opposition. One of the key influences on our motivation, and on our will to lead, is a curious quality called agency.
Virtually my entire career has been, in one way or another, focussed on the creation of change. I am not a status-quo kind of guy. What I’ve learned about realizing strategy and managing change in organizations.