Gridlock, Stalemate, Deadlock Cost Business $ Billions, and the Meter Is Still Running: Gridlock Is a Symptom, Not a Cause..

Gridlock is complete lack of movement, or progress… it’s congestion resulting in stalemate, stagnation, paralysis… According to study; traffic gridlock cost U. S. $121.2 billion and of that figure, only $2.7 billion paid for the 2.9 billion gallons of fuel wasted by idling vehicles… The vast majority of the cost is the result of wasted time, as workers spend time in traffic, rather than at the office…

In business, as in traffic, little-to-nothing gets done when there is gridlock. According to Babak Armajani; in business it’s the differences among– individuals, groups… and the trick in overcoming it is to uncover the main issue that lie beneath the surface…

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Gridlock is rooted in competition over ‘winning’ and ‘losing’… When you get stuck in this paradigm success usually means that for one party to win, others must lose… Hence the solution lies in changing the rules about winning and losing… Breaking gridlock often means that you must change not only the way you define winning and losing, but also the way you think and the way you talk; the key is building trust.

In the article Getting Past Gridlock by Chris Stathakis writes: We hear gridlock discussed a great deal with regard to politics and even traffic patterns, but gridlock affect many organization… Gridlock can be defined as a situation in which the lack of a decision is impeding the normal flow and movement of just about anything, i.e.; ideas, workflow, people… It often happens because people have very different ideas about how to move forward…

The human brain is simply hardwired for it. When conflict strikes it can be hard for people to see the gray areas of issues… Add to this the reality that as conflict develops, humans tend to want to dig-in and hold firm in their positions fearing that if they give-in, even just a little, they lose everything… But much like in politics, in ‘us versus them’, someone always has to lose. So when issues create gridlock, hopefully, there is enough leadership maturity such that a compromise can be found that’s in the best interest of the entire organization…

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In the article Overcome Conversational Gridlock At Work by Diane Windingland writes: When people are at a frustrating gridlock, emotions can be high and cause automatic physical stress response; the fight or flight response. The fight or flight response keeps most people from danger by making them want to fight or run…  At times, the threat can be so overwhelming that a ‘freeze response’ (deer-in-the-headlights) is triggered…

So first– Stop; take a break from looking at the issue the same way, and give yourself a chance to calm down, reflect and to better examine the issue… Look at the issue from a completely different angle… Stop trying to resolve it yourself, get other perspectives, get third parties to give their perspective… Listen carefully and resist debate until you fully understand all the issue. Most gridlock occurs because all parties feel they have needs and expectations that aren’t likely to be met if they ‘give-in’…

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes as you listen to understand their needs and expectations… Realize that you may not know or understand everything– may be there are hidden issues… In gridlock people can become so entrenched in opposing viewpoints that they fail to see many areas of agreement. Often problems becomes personal, rather than the real issue… Hence the entire situation evolves into a ‘You vs. Me’ battle…

However, another approach is to define the gridlock as ‘We vs. the Problem’, rather than ‘You vs. Me’… This has advantage of encouraging cooperation and collaboration against a common issue… Humans have a tendency to get mired in the ‘problem’… We tend to focus on the problems rather than solutions– the human brain is a prediction machines continually trying to predict outcomes of actions while at the same time trying to minimize risk, maximize reward… ‘problems’ are often based on past experience so it’s easier to focus on them, where as ‘solutions’ lie in the uncertain future…

In the article Cure for Cross-functional Gridlock by WorkLore writes: A classic case of ‘cross-functional gridlock’ is when people within an organization become stuck because they are unable to compromise on critical issues that affect both of them… In the extreme form, the pattern can escalate to such heated conflict that entire projects or processes are paralyzed– just as vehicle drivers are by traffic gridlock…

Cross-functional gridlock shows-up when ever coordination is needed across boundaries: Think of engineering working with manufacturing, sales working with marketing, information technology working with administration, internal groups working with external customers… Untangling the self-defeating knots of conflict and wasted effort can be drawn from– conflict management… and they usually include; linking interests, collaboration, shared vision, shared outcomes…

In the article Decision Gridlock by Chris S writes: Gridlock is about decision-making and when the decision process comes to a grinding halt it becomes a serious issue… Often this can be the result of one or more people who are uncomfortable with– making a required decision, or insist on additional information before make a decision, or disagree on the issues involved in the decision… Those who are in a position to make a decision should recognize that no decision is a decision itself. A decision by default may be worse than actively making a decision, which may not be perfect.. more important, decisions are necessary to get people moving… According to Albert Einstein; nothing happens until something moves.

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Usually gridlock has a complex set of factors at play… So while you don’t want to over complicate things, also resist urge to over-simplify things as well… Whether you are personally embroiled in gridlock or just acting as traffic cop to keep things moving, try to understand the motivations in play… According to Chris Stathakis; the opposite of gridlock is smooth flowing traffic, which takes compromise from all parties agreeing to set of rules, boundaries… that work to keep things moving… 

According to Michael Krigsman; gridlock is among the most significant and common issues in many organizations… and it resonates as major obstacle for success and, in many cases, it’s among most pernicious and subtle cause of business failures… Virtually no organization is immune to gridlock but the key is for leadership to recognize it, and to manage it…

Raising the Bar is About Achievement, Pushing Harder: But Raising the Bar Doesn’t Always Work in Some Organizations…

Setting high expectation, aspiration, digging deeper and creating a culture of achievement is one of the most difficult challenges in leading an organization… Raising the bar is about achievement, which carries a connotation of making something– better, faster, bigger…

Raising the bar is a common business cliché that means never accept ordinary or the minimum because ordinary and/or the minimum will never make an organization great… According to Julie Rains; raising the bar challenges an organization, it requires a deep understanding of how to overcome obstacles to reach goals…

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Raising the bar means focus on behaviors that deliver results, it’s about thinking strategically and creatively, it’s about dealing with shortcomings, and integrating new knowledge into day-to-day actions in order to achieve superior outcome… Unlike moving the goalposts (i.e., shifting goalposts), which is metaphor that means to change criterion (goal) of a process or competition, in such a way that a new goal offers intentional advantage or disadvantage… Raising the bar means changing beliefs, changing attitude, changing behaviors, changing outcomes– it’s the ‘bar of expectations’…

In the article Raise the Bar, Over Promise by John Halter writes: The ‘speed of business’ continues to multiply exponentially shaping the competitive contest… If you are not asserting yourselves to be– the best, fastest, most reliable… then you are destined to fall behind competitors in contest to deliver ‘best in class’ performance. The ability to ‘over promise & over deliver’ is business necessity… being able to continually raise the bar and jump over it is the means for building a great organization… Acting with a sense of urgency and speed of action is an important differentiation– speed shows you ‘care’…

To drastically improve an organization’s performance it must embrace the risk of ‘over promising’; exceeding capability of the competition… While the ability to ‘over delivering’ the ‘best in class’ solution creates competitive advantages beyond normalized feature-benefit claims… Organization must be committed to ‘raising the bar’, striving for the highest standards, being first, and setting ideals for their industry… A ‘street smart’ leader challenges conventions of the past, and takes personal risks to reach breakthrough performance… Most important, great leaders make one thing very clear; the organization is going to raise the bar and succeed, because ‘they care’…

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In the article Raising the Bar Doesn’t Always Work by Noah St. John writes: That term ‘raise the bar’ is a metaphor borrowed from sports world, which is constantly strive for–better, farther, faster… However is that the way business really works? While it may sound simplistic, many business leaders set themselves up to fail simply because their ‘bar of success’ is set too high…

Sometimes, the bar is so high that even when the organization does achieve something meaningful, significant, it’s never good enough… Yes, it’s very impressive when organization’s raise the bar to shoots for high levels of achievements, but what happens if they– don’t or can’t reach the bar? Then what is the plan, e.g.; Lower the bar? Ignore the bar? Fire the leader?

In the article Raising the Bar on Expectations by Joe Girard writes: It’s smart to get into the habit of always setting a target that makes you ‘reach’ little bit higher. Anyone can achieve modest goals but modest goals always yield modest rewards… However, raising the bar is not free– the higher the ‘bar’, the greater the need for more effective plan of action… Once the bar is raised, not having an organized plan is a little bit like running out of gas before you even start the race. It’s critical that you keep your thinking focused on the ‘bar’ and don’t drift into unnecessary distractions… If you are properly organized with a good plan of action, stay the course… the higher bar is within your reach…

In the article Raising the Bar by Trevor Dagg writes: In the current business environment ‘average is over’. Employees that don’t work to their full potential are negatively affecting the performance of their companies… Hiring people with the right skills is no longer the most important factor in determining success of a company… Managers must focus on employees actual achievements… According to Harry Sinden; it’s the attitude of the players not their skills that is the biggest factor in determining the success of an organization… Conditioning an organization with the right attitude, an attitude to achieve… is the most important challenge of leadership…  

Raising the bar involves setting objectives-goals and ensuring they are SMART (i.e.; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Bound). To achieve SMART objectives, performance must be managed on a ‘continuous’ basis. This means the implementation of continuous review process that holds managers and staff accountable for the KPI (key performance indicators) of achievement… Ongoing transparent feedback facilitates the realities of raising the bar…

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Raising the bar starts with taking responsibility for– where you are, where you want to go, what actions you must take to get there… and ultimately, accountability for the outcome… According to Anthony Cole; perhaps the biggest problem for under-performing is the reality that many leaders establish minimal standard for achievement– they reward minimalism… Raising the bar means eliminating the minimal acceptable standard of performance, and embracing a new mind-set of extraordinary standard of performance… A mind shift is required when looking to achieve higher levels of performance…

According to Lou Ludwig; when an organization steadily raises the bar of expectations– just a little higher and just a little out of reach, it causes many managers and employees to stretch their efforts– just a little out of their comfort zone… This continual stretching out of the comfort zones causes an organization’s potential to steadily achieve greater levels of performance and growth… It’s about raising the bar of expectation and achievement…

According to Michael Bentz; raise expectations is not about increasing workload it’s about setting higher expectations to increase results. And leaders begin by raising the bar on themselves; then they work their way down to direct reports and advise them to do the same… Soon everyone in the organization receive the message that ‘the bar has been raised’… Unfortunately many organizations suffer from a culture of mediocrity, accepting current level of output and performance…

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Executives tend to lean heavily on a few top performers and accept average performance from the rest. They set goals that cater to the ‘people’ instead of the ‘job’… Leaders often underestimate their employees’ abilities and desire to do better… Most employees can and will rise to a greater challenge… but it’s all communication; leaders need to explain why this is important with the benefits for the employees and the organization.

The reality is most employees think that 40-60% of their capabilities are utilized… Many employees welcome the challenge to perform at higher levels: All leaders need to do is ask…

 

Art of Changing Sales Behavior– Adapting to Highly Disruptive Age: It’s Matter of Changing the Way Sales People Think…

Customers change, markets change, industries change, competitors change… and so must organizations change to survive and prospers… And that includes ways organizations must adapt and craft their sales behavior… 

According to Dave Stein; a challenge for sales leaders is to know, understand traits that are required for success in an ever-changing global sales environment. Some selling require more right-brain tendency than left-brain, and visa versa…

Hence, attempting to change the sales behavior of someone who is inherently too left-brain (science) or right-brain (art) is often more of an investment in time and money than most companies are able to make… So understanding the right proportions for sales people to effectively sell products and services is critical to success of an organization…

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Research conducted by both the Sales Benchmark Index and Gallup suggests that sales people fall into three distinct groups when it comes to attitudes toward sales change: 1.) 20% of people are early adopters: These are the people who immediately embrace change… 2.) 60% of people are ‘fence-sitters’: These individuals resist change in a passive way, they neither support change initiative, nor directly act against it… 3.) 20% remaining are entrenched in their own methods and do easily accept change… 

According to Greg Alexander; reason for such a low percentage of unwilling adopters is that management does not provided a clear link between what the change means for success of the organization; what it means for success of individual sales person. In other words sales people often wonder: How will it affect me?

In the article Change Sales Behaviors by Jeff Shor writes: Salespeople listen through two dominant filters. First they asks Does this change fit into my experience? Can it work? Second they ask: Am I willing and capable to use this in my future? And if the change fails either of these tests, then you receive– the ‘smile-and-nod’, but deep down they reject. Get it out of your head that change in sales behavior comes in the form of an e-mail, or a sales meeting, or a single conversation… 

Changing sales behavior takes– time, repetition, coaching, and willing participates… But that’s what great leaders do; they focus on the right sales behavior, and they put in the time to do it right…

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In the article Change Selling Behavior, Really? by Jim Burns writes: I question the degree to which most sales people really understand or appreciate dramatic changes in the way consumers and businesses buy things… And the degree that sales behavior must be adapted to align with changing buying process; for example; do sales people really understand their customers, do they really have an account selling strategy, do they really know how to construct and execute an effective story-based business conversations… These adaptive issues highlight the importance of marketing and selling inter-dependencies…

The need to adapt behavior such that sales people understand the customer buying environments, e.g.; ideal customer profile, key buyer roles, buyer issues and needs, competitive context, effective messaging, storytelling, lead generation, objection handling, proof points… It’s clear that structure drives behavior– and to change, or better yet, adapt behavior… the organization’s structure and culture must be aligned in order to achieve the desired outcome… A lot is at stake…

In the article Change the Behavior of a Salesperson? by Dave Kahle writes: Inevitably organizations make changes that impacts the sales organization, e.g.; new compensation program, new automation tool, new sales process, ways of working with inside salespeople… Most of these issues are relatively straight forward, however, most sales organizations are made-up of variety of people, ranging from the inexperienced rookies, to the veterans who have been around for ever… Most rookies are eager to learn and quick to adapt to the new thing, while many veterans are often set in their ways and resistant to new initiatives… The question of how to get veterans to embrace and implement new things always comes-up… And it can be a big issue…

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The knee-jerk reaction is, of course, to say; Do it this way or find another job… And it really would be great if it were that simple; many veteran sales people are consistent performers… and many executives feel loyalty to the people who have helped them build the business… Also, veterans are typically great resources of relevant knowledge and experience, and well-entrenched in major customer accounts… So, while it’s easy to say ‘change or leave’, the reality is that the issue is much more complex than that…

However at a point you must make a determination: Is this a ‘can’t do’ (ability) issue, or a ‘won’t do’ (attitude) issue? There are different scenarios for each… The future of most organizations is characterized by constant and rapid change, and its success it tied to the ability to adapt to change… it’s part of the job description… The organizations that consistently manage change and systematically bring about effective change in behavior have a serious competitive advantage over those that are locked in behaviors– that used to work…

Promoters of change must involve all levels of management and they must drive change on a day-to-day basis… while keeping the process simple… for example, use this rule of thumb: Whenever you can’t describe a vision in five minutes or less, you’re in for trouble. That means the process for change is too complex… and if for example; a sales person can’t grasp how the proposed change will help them retain and acquire more customers, it’s highly unlike that they will readily accept change…

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Most important; effective change is based on effective leadership…  Change must be explained in simple terms– why the change is needed; who is affected by change; the timing of change, the expected outcome of the change… Employees won’t accept change unless they believe the change will truly make a difference. Create a work environment that enables, embraces change, especially adaptive sales behavior…

Hope Is Not Strategy– But Strategy Is Not Strategy Without Hope: Over-Reliance on ‘Hope’ Kills Many Businesses…

Do you use the ‘hope’ strategy in your business? It goes something like this: Let’s try something new and ‘hope’ it works! Hope lies between certain knowledge of something happening and wishing something would happen… Hope is the belief that something is possible and probable, and recognition that the degree of each is not necessarily equal...

According to Annie McKee, Frances Johnston, Richard Massimilian; ‘hope’ like other positive emotions, has a positive impact on the perceptions of events around us, so that we tend to see things more positive... This is especially important in times of crisis, as hopeful people are better able, both physically and mentally, to cope with challenges… However, hope is a pernicious little devil that can cause all kinds of problems in business if you don’t root it out and minimize its effect in your decision-making…

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Hope is a critical part of achieving a strategy when based on what is possible; perhaps not highly probable, but possible… According to Pat Schuler; the ‘good news’; ‘hope’ is good in general; it indicates a positive outlook on life and business, while not essential for business success, it often makes success easier– as well as making it look more attainable… The ‘bad news’; ‘hope’ is a poor strategy when you are business planning… You can’t hope or pretend everything’s just fine… Reality forces  you to take action… If you can’t see a complete, knowledge-based path to accomplishing what you want, revise the plan. For example, if you’re investing in a new website to convert traffic, but you don’t have a good plan for how you’re going to drive that traffic, there’s too much hope in the plan…

In the article Hope Is a Strategy– Well, Sort Of  by Deborah Mills-Scofield writes:  Hope is the belief that something is possible and probable, and recognition that the degree of each is not necessarily equal… When hope is based on real-world experience, knowledge and tangible and intangible data it results in trust, which is necessary to implementing any strategy… Hope views the glass as half full, not half empty… 

According to some business people; hope is an important part of business strategy, when its more than just wishful thinking, e,g.; 1) base it on fact, not fiction; 2) learn from failures and apply it along the way, 3) focus on what’s working instead of what’s broken, 4) use optimism as your greatest act of rebellion against naysayers and status quo…

In the article Hope, Doesn’t Belong In Business by Howard Lewinter writes: Although most people are believers in having hope, it’s important to understand how hope is applied or misapplied in a business environment, e.g.; if you are sitting at your desk and hoping that things get better chances are they probably won’t… For things to change (get better) there must be action in order to get reaction; in other words, hope is great but action is better…

Don’t just hope that things get better, do something… You often hear business people say things like: ‘I hope to get the contract… or ‘I’m hoping to do (fill in the blank) in sales volume this year’… there is no hope in business. Only action and results… Hope is an important part of everyone’s daily personal lives, but hope in business won’t get success…

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In the article Hope is Not a Business Plan by Liv Syptak writes: When you hear a phrase, such as: ‘I just hope it works out’… It’s time to face the fact that ‘hope’ is not a success plan… Far too many businesses have settled in to just hoping for the success, e.g.; we hope for a big break thinking that’s when we can do something great… or, we hope for winning the big projects… or,  we hope for new opportunities that will show our true potential… Yes, hope is important but it alone does not create success…

There is no direct output from hope; it’s a state of  anticipation that on its own goes nowhere. There’s no inherent action in hope: Yet we all so readily give over our future to it… However, let’s be crystal clear. This is not about abandoning hope. This is about waking up to the fact that we must do more than hope. So yes keep the hope, but remember that– solid plan and attentive management are the things that turn hope into reality…

In the article Hope is Not Strategy by Daniel Newman writes: A leaders core responsibility is to be an agent in the distribution of hope.– hope that is created not by talking about it, but through actions. The ability to work through tough situations and generate positive outcomes creates hope for the team. Merely talking about it turns hope into a wish, a pipe-dream, a potentially lost cause… Your ability to control outcomes does not reside in hope. Rather, your outcomes are achieved through a combination of focusing on that which you can control and having realistic expectations…

Simply stated, work to control the things that you can, but don’t just hope for things that are outside of your reach… Hope is a nice thing. It feels good to be hopeful, but when it comes down to it focus on things that are within your control… While you should never give-up hope, see it for what it is and not bet your futures on it. Instead let’s bet on the things that you can control. According to Webster; hope is desire for something with an expectation of its fulfillment– it’s not just wishful thinking… 

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Hope is a confidence that something can happen if one works hard enough to make it happen… According to Shane J. Lopez; it’s hard to be successful without being hopeful– It helps people launch businesses that thrive… Hope accounts for 14% of productivity in workplaces. But to take advantage of hope, leaders must make goals meaningful, strategize and plan for ‘what ifs’, and help employees understand that they can use it to make the work a better place…

There is power in ‘hope’: It’s hard to be successful without it… the more you do it the better it works… Hence, a well-conceived and crafted business strategy, full commitment from the team, and an extra dose of hope provides the foundation for a very successful outcome…

Invasions of Negativity, Negativitaur, Negaholic — Destroy Organizations: Cancer That Spreads by Contact…

Look around any organization and chances are you’ll find at least one person whose negativity affects the rest of the group to varying degrees. New research has found that it only takes one toxic-negative person to upset the whole apple cart… It’s so-called ‘bad apple’ effect– people who are constantly negative about work, who are unhappy about the organization, who always bully or attack others– it’s like cancer that destroys team dynamics and creates organization dysfunction.

According to William Felps and Terence Mitchell; most organizations don’t have very effective ways to handle negative people…

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Organizations need to move more quickly to deal with these issues because the negativity of just one person can be pervasive and destructive and spread quickly throughout an organization… Team members react to a negative member, typically, in one of three ways; 1. intervention, 2. rejection, 3. defensiveness… And since negative behavior outweighs positive behavior– a bad apple can spoil an entire organization, but one or two good workers cannot unspoil it. According to various surveys, negativity destroys many workplaces, e.g.:

  • Gallup surveys show that organizations typically have one-in-six employees who are actively sabotaging the positive functioning of others in a workplace…
  • Study found that 25% of employees witness workplace incivility every day, and 50% said they were the direct target of an uncivil act at least once a week…
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates organizations lose $3 billion a year to the effects of negative attitudes and behaviors at work…

In the article Negativity by Anthony Iannarino writes: Negativity is a communicable disease… Every organization has its– cynics, critics, slackers, burnouts… The ‘cynics’ don’t feel passion for anything about the organizations and often say that all it stands for is bullshit… The ‘critics’ are always criticizing the organization and often making negative remarks about what should be done, but they never take responsibility, or never actively undertake initiatives that would make a difference…

The ‘slackers’ believe they are overworked, underpaid, and try to do as little as possible, and never make a meaningful contribution… The ‘burnouts’ are always tried and lack the energy or passion to make any real contribution– they are simply doing their time… All of these groups exemplify the worst within an organization, and just like cancer negativity spreads from person-to-person… And just like cancer they negativity destroys teams, departments, and eventually the entire organization… Hence protect your organization, remove negativity.

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In the article Negativitaurs Destroy Companies by Nigel MacLennan writes: Chances are that one or more of negativitaurs are destroying your organization… The word ‘negativitaur’ is derived from the words– negate, negative, negativity… named in the style of Greek mythical bull-like creatures capable of causing huge damage. Someone who is so toxically negative that they destroys and/or prevents all the good around them… Many negativitaurs are easy to spot, while others are more Machiavellian and harder to spot…

A negativitaur would dismiss the idea of having any vision; visions destroy organizations! And would offer no solution… and when you tried to move the discussion towards finding a solution, they would quickly tell you why no solution is possible… Identifying these non-problem solvers, and negative disruptors is key for the success of an organization… Negativitaurs are pretenders, and they are incapable of developing solutions, they only seeks to block attempts to find them… However, negativitaurs are politically skilled and can recommend a non-solution that looks like a solution…

In the article Negativity Destroys Companies by Dr. Alan Zimmerman writes: Challenges in the economy and the frantic pace of change are causing more stress, dysfunction, negativity than most people can handle or want to handle… Here are a few characteristics of negativity that can kill an organization:

  • Frequent Complaints: Coworkers trash-talk their company, team mates, leaders, products, customers… They tell friends, relatives, acquaintances outside the organization… about the negatives, the bad things, worst about the organization… and they do it over and over again…
  • Overwhelmed Feelings: No matter how hard you work or how fast you work, you never even come close to getting everything done. It always seems like you have double-negative; too much work, too little time… These are two unhealthy choices; to either let some work go, or let some work get done more poorly than you would like…
  • Non-Appreciation: In many organizations, the number one job complaint is: You can do many things right and not hear a darn thing about it. You do one thing wrong and they’re right in your face… Employees at all levels need verbal appreciation for the good work, or they begin to go negative– they begin to feel ‘what’s the point’ and ‘why bother’…
  • Disengagement: This is when an employee’s ‘body’ is at work but their ‘mind’ isn’t… The original gung-ho has slipped away, and so they spend more time daydreaming then working… they escape to activities such as; personal phone calls, Internet, coffee-room… and host of other non-job related activities…
  • Distance: It’s when coworkers don’t connect, e.g.; they may not like each other, so they treat each other with disdain at worst and tolerance at best. Or, they do not trust each other… It’s very much every person for themselves, which creates a negative work place environment…
  • Belittled Change: In some work environment, the innovators are the bad guys and they get put down. When they bring up new ideas or suggest a better way of doing something, they get teased, criticized, attacked… they are perceived as negative people… So the innovators learn that a ‘get-by-performance’ is safer than being advocate for change…
  • Hoarded Information: It’s a sick little negative game when some people withhold information from others because they know that knowledge is power. And they only share information when it suits their purposes…
  • Selfish Priorities: Instead of putting ‘customers first’ or ‘quality first’, some employees live by the negative ‘me first’ motto. They’re always asking ‘what’s in it for me’ before they extend themselves. So they only meet others needs–  coworkers, customers… just when they feel like it…
  • No-Win Situations:  Sometimes no matter what you do… you’re wrong. Sometimes when you show initiative you get punished… Sometimes when you do what you are supposed to do but didn’t check-in with the boss first, you get punished… When employees experience too many of these no-win situations, they get negative and stop trying to win…

It’s easy to become entrapped by a cycle of negativity… According to Dave Ursillo; often the key to breaking any cycle of negativity is to shift your state of mind and alter your current perspective, e.g.: Focus on the Moment— a simple remedy to abandon a cycle of obsessive over-thinking is to focus on the small stuff; focus on here and now, and something small but meaningful... Take the Long Viewshift your perspective from the ‘right now’ and onto the big picture; focus on the long view…

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According to Margarita Hakobyan; some negative employees traits are obvious, e.g.; those who– steals, lies, cheats… but there are other types of employees that can be more damaging… these are employees who approach their job with the idea of doing the bare minimum necessary in order to stay employed. This negative attitude creates a toxic culture of ‘bare-minimum’ effort that makes it impossible for any organization to succeed…

Acts of Defiance, Defying Authority: Symbols of Resistance, Tiny Rebellion in Name of Change…

Epic acts of defiance– it’s the harmless, mostly subtle acts that push back against– jerk-itude, mundanity, unfairness that are encountered on a daily basis in business, government, and within the social structure in general… It’s stirring the pot and making life more interesting, more uncomfortable, more debatable…

It’s doing something small and rebellious, a symbolic gesture to counteract what is believed to be– unfair, unjust, discriminatory… It’s the every day defiance of– standing-up when the ‘powers that be’ order you to sit-down, or sit-down when the ‘powers that be’ order you to stand-up… It happens when someone or group openly flouts or challenges authority…

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We owe this lovely descriptive term to the French– specifically to the Old French word defier, which means to defy… An act of defiance is essentially an act of not trusting… it’s daring, or bold resistance, or opposing force, or open disregard, or contempt for authority… It’s a tiny rebellions of everyday acts of defiance…

According to Kottak; celebrate defiance in all its raw, subversive glory– from acts of quiet dissent and open rebellion, to people who defy conventions and prove that there are endless ways to live life… These are people who are renegades hell-bent on change ‘something’, and who are not afraid to step out-of-line…

In the article Revolutionary Acts of Courage by Ordinary People by Robyn Johnson  writes: When looking back through the mystique of history, we tend to impose super-human status to those who stood up for beliefs in a revolutionary way… For some of them, the decision to act was conscious defiance to the status-quo; for others, they were simply in the right place at the wrong time, and found themselves acting on behalf of others lacking the courage to speak out… You should rightly remember these people, but you should also remember that they were (or are) ordinary human beings who made a choice…

And just like them, you have the opportunity to choose to engage in creating a better world. In short, you can be revolutionary too… According to Mary Reilly; there are three types of people in terms of personalities: pleasers, secretive, defiant… Obviously, everyone has some of each of these traits, but almost everyone can be pretty clearly categorized into one of them as being the dominant personality type. Defiant people will often times, be defiant just because they are difficult, they don’t want to be told what to do… Other people are defiant of authority because they have issues with authority…

In the article Theory of Disruptive Power by Mark Engler and Paul Engler writes: Mostly the work of institutional change is a slow process. It involves patiently building movement, cultivating leadership, organizing campaigns, leveraging power to secure small gains… If you want to see your efforts produce results, it helps to have a long-term commitment… And yet, sometimes things move more quickly. Every once in a while you see outbreaks of mass protest, periods of peak activity when the accepted rules of an institution seem to be suspended…

These are extraordinary moments when ordinary people– rise-up in anger and hope, defy the rules that ordinarily govern their lives, and by doing so disrupt the workings of an institution and the impact can be profound. According  to Piven and Cloward; the lasting legacy of a ‘defiant movement’ provides a counter-balance to traditional ideas, and opens doors for more inventive approaches to the perceived– injustice, discrimination, unfairness…

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In the article Between Defiance and Deviance by glock writes: What is the difference between breaking the law because it gives a person a ‘natural high’, and breaking the law to call attention to the wrongs of it? What makes one ‘cool’ and the other simply a statement? What differentiates between a righteous act of defiance and a simple act of self-gratification without caring for the law or without consideration for the interests of other people?  

A woman who refuses to give up her seat on the bus, because she feels it’s– inherently wrong, morally unjust, and uncivil in the society in which she lives, commits an act of defiance? And by breaking the law, she hopes to call attention to it because it’s wrong, and through her action she hopes the law is changed…

However, if you are smoking weed because it makes you feel good that is fine; but it’s not really making a statement– it’s not so much a defiance as simply gratifying oneself in a rebellious manner because it makes them feel good… Also, if you prefer not to wear a seat belt because you don’t like government to tell you what you should or should not do… So it may be just that you have an insatiable need to show disgust for ‘any’ form of authority… Its not about being ‘cool’ at all; it’s about the natural high you get from the defiance…

In the article The Virtue of Defiance by Dan Sanchez writes: What society needs is not less but more opposition and defiance– Indeed, defiance is virtue… Defiance is disobedience, as in tradition of Henry David Thoreau, who defied his government’s demand for taxes, so as not to fund an immoral war… Grand gestures and movements of civil disobedience can marshal great public support for righteous causes, and thus induce government to back-down… Defiance can also be an economic disobedience, in tradition of John Hancock, who defied his government by flouting its import duties and smuggling commodity goods into the country…

Such evasion has throughout history forced governments to allay and even abolish prohibitions and exactions, lest their precious laws become a mockery… Defiance is also disobedience in the sense of the disobedience of the whistle-blower… Defiance is also righteous resistance, in tradition of some aspects of the American Revolution and Whiskey Rebellion, the latter in spite of common misconception, was actually hugely successful... Defiance means the right to resist unjust arrest, expropriation…

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Defiance is a steady advance of a ‘red line’ of potential resistance which is the only way to peacefully achieve– fairness, equality, justice... Defiance is not a disorder or even a vice, but a virtue and a necessary one for achievement and defense of justice and fairness… The first step any emancipation is to embrace the grandness of ‘defiance’.

According to Piero Bocchiaro, Adriano Zamperini; conformism and obedience are basic elements in culture and; defiance, nonconformity, disobedience, whistle-blowing… are vital for progress…

Plateau Effect– Lost Work Mojo– Push Reset Button: Think Different– Refocus, Reenergize, Reengage…

When organizations are at the same position, doing same thing, getting same outcomes… they hit a plateau: It’s the ‘plateau effect’. It’s a very common state for many organizations… They grow and prosper but eventually they hit a plateau, where whatever action got them to the current level… is not enough to elevate them to next level…

Breaking a ‘plateau’ is an ongoing stair-step process of developing new thinking and new actions that have nothing to do with the actions that were successful in getting them to the current position… The things that worked before, becomes less effective over time…

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There are three types of successful organizations; those that have experienced growing pains, those that currently are experiencing growing pains, and those that will… All companies hit bumps along the road to growth, bumps that usually have less to do with external factors like the– industry, marketplace… and much more to do with natural way organizations evolve. Just as humans– develop, grow, mature… and decline, and so to do organizations…

In the article Plateau Effect: Why Initiatives Fail by Craig Long writes: We have all seen this movie before: The scene opens with lots of fireworks, fanfare announcing the next great corporate initiative, which promises significant sustainable improvements! This roll-out is typically followed by lots of new staffing, training, slogans, goals… The excitement level is pretty high, initially; a few quick wins follow, then although there is still some success, the air starts leaking out of the initiative balloon.

Morale drops, leaders lose interest, and the organization is now dragging an anchor that must eventually be cut. Why? The very nature of the competitive corporate environment creates a natural catalyst for change. Positive changes that result in a better products/ services or more favorable market positions are ultimately rewarded… Organizations must change, but making the right moves isn’t always easy, and there are two major challenges to making change happen. The first is creating change; the second is sustaining it… Reenergize, refocus… requires different ways of thinking and acting…

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In the article Burned-out, Overworked; Reenergize the Team by Jon Gordon writes:  Many workers are tired of  working more hours for less pay and often under the threat of termination… many  have just mentally checked out of their jobs. They are simply doing what they need to in order to hang on until something better comes along… Hence it’s time for leaders to reenergize their companies and get inside employees’ heads…

They need to proactively shape the organization into one that is positive, resilient and prepared to take on new initiatives… it’s time to take positive actions that will inspire and energize the team to not just survive but to thrive. It’s time to boost morale, engage in new   initiatives that break the chains of the plateau effect… Consider the next steps:

  • Focus on People not Numbers: It’s easy to become fixated on performance number… But ultimately an organization’s failure or success is determined by the moods, innovation, energy, thoughts and behaviors of the people who work there… It’s not numbers that drive people but the people who drive numbers… Too often, worried leaders approach this relationship backwards. Hence, this is the time to  give more attention to people, and on process! After all, numbers are just indicators of how well people are executing. Remember culture drives behavior, behavior drives habits, habits drive results…
  • Practice Positive Leadership: Positive leadership doesn’t simply mean the absence of overt negativity– it means being purposeful in the face of adversity. While it’s important to acknowledge the obstacles an organization is facing, don’t dwell on– where you are, focus on where you are going… It’s a scientifically proven fact that the nature of people’s thoughts affects behavior, e.g.;  if you think the best days are behind you, they are… However, if you think the best days are ahead of you, they are… Therefore, it’s time to regroup, refocus and unite to create a winning mindset… Remember, culture drives behavior… first you win in the office, then you win in the marketplace…
  • Teach People to be Heroes not Victims: Both heroes and victims get knocked down. The distinction between the two groups lies in the fact that heroes get back-up, while victims simply give-up… In a rapidly changing world, it’s important to choose ‘faith’ over ‘fear’… The two share a future that hasn’t happened yet, and the main thing that separates them is hope, or a lack thereof… ‘Faith’ is believing in a positive future and it creates heroes… while ‘fear’ is believing in a negative future and it creates victims…
  • Focus on Small Wins: Always place attention on the little, ordinary, non-spectacular ‘wins’ that add up to big successes… When you focus on small wins, you gain the confidence to go after and create the big wins… Keep in mind that employees might currently be discouraged or burnt-out, so make sure to really highlight and celebrate the small wins in order to foster loyalty, excitement, confidence… After all, championships are won as the result of many small wins…
  • Put Sharks in Key Positions: When the organization thrives, it’s more forgiving if key employees have mediocre performance. But in tough times figuring-out which people display characteristics of– driven, go-get-’em…’sharks’, and which are– ‘goldfish’… is critical for sustaining the organization.‘Sharks’ must be in positions that drive business… whereas, ‘goldfish’ are better suited for support roles, market analyses, cultivating customer goodwill… However, many organizations put ‘sharks’ and ‘goldfish’ in wrong positions: Put the right people in the right positions and allow them to do what they do best…

The ‘plateau effect’ is a law of nature, as real and as impactful as gravity or friction… It’s built directly into the genetic code of an organization… According to Joel Brown; ‘plateau effect’ explains why the world is full of one-hit-wonders, why all good things come to an end, why all trends eventually fall... Breaking through a plateau requires constant recalibration; it takes little of ‘this’ and bit of ‘that’… As expectations increase it’s often difficult for employee’s energy levels to keep pace… Everyone knows what it’s like to feel worn-out, tired, or bored… and some may be on the verge of burnout, defeat. This feeling of being drained (or simply uninspired) is universal…

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The ups and downs of a person’s energy levels are actually quite predictable, and it can be managed… It begins by reminding people about what matters, and why they are working in the first place. Some have lost their directional focus, and energy levels tend to plummet when people forget what they are doing and why they are doing it, e.g.; why they do what they do?

Plateau robs organizations of success. They make hard work worthless. They turn beginner’s luck into sophomore slumps. They can even make organizations look– lazy, dumb, careless… it’s like fighting an invisible enemy. Countering the effects means shaking things-up, being more innovative, trying different approaches, techniques, procedures… Leaders must take bolder and prudent risks… to mitigate the dreaded plateau…