Getting Along Can Do You In—The Need for Harmony

Getting Along Can Do You In—The Need for Harmony The need for harmony Having harmony in your working life is a good thing, as is a harmonious personal life. It is stressful, unpleasant, and even injurious to your health to work in tension or conflict. A group which gets along is usually more productive. However, the need for harmony can sometimes be so overwhelming that everything else goes out the window—such as being innovative, avoiding failure, or telling the truth. Let’s use the example below to explore this. Missing data The executive group reviews the strategic plan annually. You supervise putting together the report. You research trends, gather data, and model different scenarios for the plan. Your meeting with Jean, your employee You: Jean, have you seen how Megan’s company did their report? I like it. I think we should use it this year. Jean: Hey, we took over Megan’s company. She should do it our way. You: We should use what’s best from both. Jean: (Silence) You: Anyhow, because Megan is with us, we can spread out the work. Jean: She’s three hours behind us. It’ll be impossible to work together. You: There’s a way it might. You like…

Consequences of Taking a Stand

Consequences of Taking a Stand Sometimes, you must speak up to maintain self-worth. In previous posts, we’ve discussed how to do that. However, no matter how successfully you pilot through your initial conversation, there will be consequences which you need to prepare for and accept as part and parcel of deciding to speak out. Consequences you might face Depends on your boss and how open your company is to change. The following list is generally in order of severity. What consequences you have to undergo will depend on how big the problem that you raise and how much your boss and/or company wants to avoid dealing with it. This list is adapted from the one published in Creating the Innovation Culture: Leveraging Visionaries Dissenters and Other Useful Troublemakers in Your Organization, Chapter Five. Ignore. Silence—a powerful weapon. When you raise the issue, no one replies. The conversation continues as if you’d never spoken. Made invisible. Funny things start to happen. Somehow, your name gets left off distribution lists. Important and interesting work is re-assigned. Decisions are taken without your input. Forbid. If you continue to push your unpopular views, your boss will say: “Focus on assigned projects, not on the…

How to Take a Stand or Challenge Convention

How to Take a Stand or Challenge Convention Whether you take a stand on something is entirely up to you.  Only you can decide that. But how you challenge convention can lower or increase the chances of continuing to earn a pay check. Plan Don`t do a spur of the moment, blow your gasket thing. It`s too important. Take a moment to think through what to say. Be clear. Sometimes, moral outrage can be diffuse. What exactly is bothering you? Is it the problem or the cover-up? Can be both but get it clear in your mind. Limit the scope. `You always do that!` is not a way to create the right conditions. There may be various transgressions but either find an umbrella term (e.g. management style) and use the various issues as examples, or cite the most egregious item to focus on.   Plan the conversation. You can’t determine exactly how the conversation will go. But keep the key points in mind: A concise and clear statement of the concern Any hard facts you can use to support your contention The resolution (specifics, please) which would satisfy you The conversation to challenge the status quo As discussed previously, pick…

When Your Values Require You to Take a Stand

When Your Values Require You to Take a Stand Sometimes, some situation really offends your values or sense of self. You feel the urge to speak up. But, if you can, spend a few minutes before you do so, deciding whether to go ahead. Who are you doing it for? There are a variety of reasons to confront a perceived wrong. Are you taking a stand on behalf of: The company? You may see or participate in some event which you know will damage the company’s reputation and, in the longer term, your job. Take a stand? It`s very noble of you to be concerned and every boss in the company would applaud you. Unless they already know of the problem and don`t want to fix it. Then you are in trouble. So, the question is, is it worth jeopardizing your job to safeguard the company`s good name? The company’s customers? You may know something about the company or its products which customers should know—financial double-dealing, unsafe products, etc. Take a stand? A judgement call. One of the criteria is probably how much hurt is inflicted on the customer. Threatening safety is one thing; paying a buck more on a…

The Wrong Way to Confront an Issue

The Wrong Way to Confront an Issue As I mentioned in the last post, sometimes you need to take to confront an issue. It takes guts to do so, but it also requires some skill if you want to minimize the damage to your career. Let’s take another example of taking a stand where You had the courage but not all the skills. The hot water way to confront an issue Josh: Erin, your report says the quality has dropped seven per cent.   You: Because it has.   Josh: In your opinion. Okay, so it’s starting. You: No, Josh, I told you—the tensile strength of the robo-bots isn’t high enough. He probably already knows this. Josh: So what? Our toys require parental supervision—it always says so right on the package. They’re safe enough.   You: But if a kid over 60 pounds stands on—     This argument can and probably would go on for a while. Let’s skip ahead.   Josh: Lookit, I’m done arguing. Change the report or else. He’s losing his temper. You: Or else what? So are You. Josh: Don’t mess with me, Erin.   You: You may not have any standards, but I do….