Archive for November 2009

Who’s Responsible?

November 9, 2009

I’m often troubled by news reports and commentaries that seek to place blame for everything that happens on someone else.  While I understand that there are factors that affect each of us, I don’t believe that most things are completely out of our control.  Much of what happens to us is a result of choices we make along the way.

It’s easy in an economy like the current one to mope and despair.  Business is down.  That’s a fact.  People have lost jobs.  That’s a fact.  But moping and pointing to forces outside of our control doesn’t get us back to where we need to be.  Only taking responsibility for our own actions will get us there.

I’m not suggesting that the path is easy if we choose to take control.  Those outside factors still exist.  I’m saying that taking control will move us forward faster than abdicating. 

So, who’s responsible for your career?  YOU are.  Who’s responsible for your company’s success?  If you own the company, YOU are. 

Think.  Strategize.  Look for new ideas.  Brainstorm.  Then MOVE.  As my dad used to tell me, DO something!

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Much depends on your point of view

November 2, 2009

I worked with a coaching client a few months ago who was convinced that truth was absolute.  He wasn’t a bad guy, and he wasn’t being obstinant.  It had just never occured to him that truth is often in the eye of the beholder.  If he believed he had a good grasp of a situation, and someone presented a different story, he felt that they were lying to him.

We talked about this for some time, and he finally got it.  He was able to understand that different points of view yield different versions of the truth at times.  Once he began trying to understand the other person’s point of view, he could accept their viewpoint as another data set and move from there without the angst of feeling that he’d been lied to.  It improved his relationships and his ability to manage his team. 

I find that different levels in an organization frequently have different points of view.  Think about it from a physical standpoint.  If I’m standing on the top of a mountain, my point of view will be the things that surround the mountain, not so much the mountain itself.  If I’m standing in the distance looking at the mountain, I’ll perceive its shape, color, texture and some of the factors surrounding it.  If I’m standing at the base of the mountain, I can only see a fraction of the mountain itself, and very little of the things surrounding it. 

If I describe the mountain from these three vantage points, my description will be entirely different, and yet, in each circumstance, it will be a true description.  My understanding of that truth will be limited to my exposure.  My ability to draw conclusions from that truth will be limited as well.

If you’re a business owner or high level manager, you may sometimes become frustrated because others don’t seem to have the same sense of vision you do.  You may think it is a matter of desire or dedication.  It may, in fact, be simply a result of a limited point of view.

Help your team see more of the landscape by sharing information.  Teach them about decision models and strategic tools that help you evaluate your surroundings.  Make them part of the process so that their point of view can expand.  And always remember, the truth you hear from a variety of points of view helps you get closer to the real truth.