I think it must be me. Maybe the stress of lockdown is affecting me a little. Perhaps it’s my own frustrations getting the better of me, or even a warning that I’m working too hard and not getting out enough. The fact of the matter is, I am becoming less tolerant. I try counting to ten, taking deep breaths, pausing to put my chimp back in the cage, or even a quick mindfulness exercise. However, whatever I do, it just doesn’t seem to work the way it did and I’m failing in being able to bite my tongue, smile and walk away. In fact, I’ll even go one stage further and guiltily confess to deriving a certain satisfaction from pointing out the stupidity of others behaviours and actions, (when warranted of course).
Take yesterday for example. Driving through the forest where I live, I rounded a corner, only to be greeted with a long queue of traffic. Unable to turn around due to the narrowness of the road, I patiently sat for over an hour, moving at a snails pace towards the unknown obstacle. The only detour was a road that I had passed about a mile back, so in this case I had no options. The unknown obstacle in question was actually repairs to a bridge. About fifteen people had been deployed to carry out the work. Three were actually engaged in tasks and the rest were just observing, drinking coffee and chatting the morning away. About ten metres away from the bridge was a sign saying, “Road ahead closed.” Next to it a big arrow pointed out the diversion route, which of course was right back to where we had all come from. Drivers were painfully engaged on completing a three, five or seven point U turn depending on their driving ability. My chimp was running wild but I remained in control and got out of the car reflecting a calm persona. Needless to say that my suggestion of putting the “Road ahead closed,” sign next to the detour turning, now some two miles behind me was not met with enthusiasm. Apparently nobody had permission to do this and it was outside their remit. Even the supervisor explained the difficulties presented when they only had the one sign. My response was the question, ”But where is the best place to put that sign?” It only returned a shrug of the shoulders and an explanation that some things are beyond their control.
What values were represented yesterday? Certainly not care, consideration, initiative, efficiency, ownership, etc, etc. In fact it was the opposite. I wonder what their company values are... loitering, unhelpfulness, dependency, ineffectiveness? I doubt it. What we have here is a crisis of integrity, where, what an organisation says it believes in and stands for and what it actually does are two different things. Organisational Integrity is the result of people honestly reflecting company principles and beliefs. It is reliant on creating a state where individuals commit to behaviour and action underpinned by shared purpose that goes beyond just completing a task. Without this, values can’t be valued.
It is always worth taking time to pause and reflect on how well you and your organisation reflects Organisational Integrity.
Ten points that demonstrate your values are valued
1. Your personal and professional values are aligned
2. Your decisions reflect your beliefs and your actions reflect your decisions
3. You don’t fear adversity because you have a strong moral compass that guides you
4. You build your own collective vision for an improved future, rather than wait to be told what to do
5. You are consistent with your behaviour and people know where they stand with you
6. Your gut instinct is normally right
7. You know what makes you tick and what to work on improving
8. Your team have your back and you have theirs
9. You have a strong sense of self-belief and self-worth
10. You are just as kind to yourself as you are to others
Take the time to stop and think about what you and your organisation reflect in terms of beliefs and principles. Think about what you 'actually do' that indicates what you really care about. Right now, I have to go and apologise to a site supervisor. I value respect but I feel that yesterday I compromised this by demonstrating sarcasm and irritability.
(Confused about the chimp? Try Prof. Steve Peters, “The chimp paradox.”)