Lets distinguish what this looks like from a Managerial and a Leadership point of view, because the responses required from these two positions are different. It could be fair to say that managers deal more with vision implementation than creation. That’s not to say they don’t have creativity, but that the task of global vision casting usually falls to the leader. Since managers deal with daily vision implementation, the knots or problems they see will likely come from an implementation space. The seductive power of a problem in a managerial arena is just as strong as in a leader’s arena, but it requires a slightly different kind of resolve. It necessitates a different set of questions to get to the real cause.
When a widget on a production line begins to come out faulty, the solution is not to create a new department that corrects widget faults. The fault is only the symptom. What needs to be discovered is where the fault is sourced and correct the problem at its cause. By following the widget through its production cycle a manager can discover where it is being damaged and take corrective action to solve the problem at its source. The widget’s original design remains intact and there is no need to create a new department.
Leaders on the other hand, often ask an entirely different set of questions when an issue or knot in the system arises. Leadership symptoms usually challenge the identity of the organization, the global vision, or the identity of the leader. The political prickliness of the problem can make it seem like it would be easier for everyone if we would just adjust the vision to accommodate the issue. If you give in, you have been seduced! On the other hand, sometimes the solution is very sexy and attractive and also a dramatic departure from the vision. If you give in, you have been seduced!
The real question
Regardless of whether you are a manager or a leader or both, the kind of questions that bring resolve to these seductive challenges are questions that clarify identity. Who am I? Who are we? What are we selling? Why? When did we begin and when will it end? Etc. These kinds of Identity revealing questions form a bedrock of stability when seduction comes calling and it always does. So don’t wait till the heat of the moment to decide who you are or what you are about. Making these choices when the honey of seduction is dripping all around is very tough. Rather, bring clarity to your organization, your department and yourself by addressing the Identity and focus of the organization early and repeatedly. Leaders in the world of management and leadership like Stephen Covey or even Gallup, suggest a reminder of who you are corporately, what you are about and why, should be reinforced throughout the organization weekly.
Please don’t misunderstand, I am not saying that a vision or organizational Identity should never change, I am simply advocating that if a symptom is compelling enough to demand change in the organization, then know what you are moving away from and what you are moving toward. Do it on purpose and avoid the victim mentality. The only way to do that is to know who you are and to know who your organization is. Your Identity upholds your destiny.
Two questions then:
- Do you know how to discover your personal and even corporate identity?
- Does your organization know who they are and why. Do they understand their corporate Identity?