So, I thought to share with you something. I’m going my own way. What does it mean you ask? I’m going to make the world a better place. How am I planning to do so, you probably wonder? By helping teams in organisations to become better at what they do. And why is it so important to me, you might ask yourself?
Some years ago I was part of an organisation, where I felt at home. It was a place where everybody wanted to work at. I enjoyed my work, felt good with the people I was interacting with, and had a strong rapport with my colleagues and managers. It all looked very promising. Suddenly this all changed. A new team manager, who did not know me and sat 10,000km away, joined the company. After 4 weeks in his role he began to shape my team’s reality, without shaping his own first. With a press of a button and without any legal implications or too many explanations to others, he could start to make the first change: I was out. He ignored any given recommendations, personal development plan, and values the company talked about internally and externally.
I knew many senior managers in the company and hoped that they wore the same reality glasses as I do. But I was wrong. The ones who could have helped did not want to intervene in the decision, while the ones who wanted to intervene did not have the authority to do so. Colleagues who did try to make sense in this situation were struck with the fear that “the same can happen to them”, which kept them quiet. Desperate “business is business” or “don’t take it personal” liners were a few of the mantras I heard over and over again. I was wondering how can it be that smart analytical people, data driven, that looked for the common sense in every business project they managed, did not acknowledge that something does not smell right here. Where were the “one big family” corporate slogans when me and my team started to fall into pieces? And if there was any logical reason besides power-play, what was it? Probably we’ll never find out.
By skipping elementary values, the great cause we all worked towards for, seemed very superficial. Two months after I left the company the manager was removed from his place and given a role without personnel. It was too late as the damage was already done: the team fell apart, some left the organisation, while others moved to other departments with bitter feelings. It was a shaky experience, where the company lost loyal and motivated employees with years of experience in the organisation’s specific processes and systems.
This experience made me start to doubt everything I knew in the corporate world: the difference between good and bad, black and white, true or false. I was trying to find out what went wrong. While sharing my story with others I heard similar experiences, which all led to scepticism in the workplaces we dedicate a large part of our life to. These stories, in different scales, exist everywhere: a manager that doesn’t fulfil the employees’ expectations as a leader, colleagues that do not trust others and keep the cards close to their chest, or a management team that doesn’t provide the right guidelines to achieve the organisations’ goals. For some reason we accept these as integral part of what we need to deal with at our jobs, which at times make us cynical and doubtful. For many it is easier to avoid these challenges than to raise the difficult questions and shake the status quo.
How you respond in these kind of situations, depends on how resilient you are. You might be able to create the emotional shield that will protect you from these organisational disappointments. But let me promise you this: it doesn’t have to be this way! The power is in your hands, and it doesn’t matter what your title is. We make our own reality, and we can choose which one it is going to be. Every organisation wants to have a high retention rate of its employees, while every employee would like to have a healthy work environment. It goes hand-by-hand and it’s all about making sense. And here I step in.
Utilising my years of experience and knowledge in organisation development, I’m launching SenseGiving - a consulting business with the goal to help teams, leaders, and organisations, to make sense of their corporate reality. I will showcase the power of putting the masks down and simply discuss what truly matters: expectations, goals, and values. We don’t need to turn into our avatars each time we step into the office. We also don’t want politics to dominate the work-floor as we are all on same side of the playing field. Sounds too ideal? Not at all. We just need to care for one another, constantly self-reflect, and be sincere and real in our work-environment, according to the values we were raised upon.
So, whether you are a director that would like to improve its department’s internal communication, a future leader that builds a new team and needs to define the goals and operating guidelines, or just a concerned colleague that cares about having a healthy working environment - reach out to see how I can help you make sense of your corporate reality! I promise you it will be an engaging experience, and also fun!
Looking forward to collaborate together.