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We see it in most interviews, most meetings, strategies and decisions. Cleverly it has been perfectly masqueraded in sophisticated concepts such as steering committees, team-work, delegation, “I’ll talk to my people”… you get the point. Not that some of these are not important business concepts. However, one needs to ask themselves, “am I getting involved in these processes to cover my arse (or CMA as one of my colleagues recently explained to me!), or am I clear about what I know needs to happen in this situation and I wish to get everybody’s feedback to ensure the best possible outcome”?

This sounds like a subtle (but significant) diversion between the two. And the diversion is fear. Fear is at the core of corporate decision-making. After all, I need my job and why should I stick my neck out and get victimized by those that decide my tenure. Our experience is that this fear is experienced on both sides of this discussion. The “manager” is equally as fearful as you, in case they authorise the wrong proposal as they too report to somebody; and so on and so forth.

The end result is mediocrity.

Volumes have been written about agile businesses. Agility is key, especially in today’s interconnected world. We have introduced amazing efficiency tools and yet, as always, the biggest expense in an organisation is human resource and organisations that allow this “fear” to manage decision-making are ensuring that this already significant cost, is even larger.

So what are we doing about turning this significant expense into an investment? The problem is where do we start. It is a chicken and egg situation. Most are not prepared to stick their neck out, and even when they do, those around them feel it is their responsibility to protect them from themselves. So, the result is corporate anorexic lethargy (CAL) where expensive time is wasted wallowing and avoiding the unavoidable, making a decision. We have all heard that not making a decision is ALWAYS making the wrong decision. “Oh but at least I get to keep the job, after all, nobody was ever sacked for not making a decision”!

How do you gauge CAL? What internal research do you regularly carry-out to monitor the (hopefully) decreasing levels of CAL within your organisation?

For the problem here is about creating an open environment where fear is parked at the door. Fear is not the result of how you or your managers behave and manage. However, you and your managers could trigger the fear that exists within most human beings. This fear is the result of the “wounded child” inside most of us and rears its ugly head when threatened, and the person in fear has no power over it once threatened!

So what do we do?

The short-term answer is to ensure empathy at every level of your organisation as a result of your understanding as a Leader that the best in everybody is found by allowing them to freely contribute their best creativity within their role. The long-term solution is to devise programs that free your people from the tyranny of the “wounded-child” that once freed and in your nurturing environment will transform your business into a GREAT organisation.

A true leader has already faced this fear and is already ensuring that the nurturing and empathetic environment has been created and they are your toughest competition should you be competing for the same business. (“The Accidental CEO”, available from CxO is a great read regarding this subject). CxO engages experts in the field of “wounded child” and “adaptive adult” to unleash your organisational true potential. Contact us for further information.

Last modified: March 27, 2018

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