Craig's Blog

Katrina, oil spills and the economy isn’t slowing down the Louisiana Human Resource Association. The speech today was Humor and Creativity in the Workplace and we had a mega session on Radical Leadership. A great question asked in the later session was how is one to talk to my executive team, (the ones in charge) when they don’t “see” let alone “own” their stuff. The question was a good one. How many leaders can’t see or admit when they are wrong. (Wow, where could we start? How about me?) How many leaders aren’t walking the walk?
A couple months ago a large manufacturing company invited me to come out and speak with their employees. After hearing what they were looking for (better synergy, less griping, more accountability) I said great to the Human Resource Manager, but first let me ask you, “Does the executive team work together, are they accountable, do they walk the talk?” She paused, then replied, “No, not really”.
I said whatever I do with your organization will not stick and unless the executive team can embody these concepts, we would be wasting our time and they would waste their money. I asked her for more details and asked to have a conference call with the CEO and herself (head of HR). A week later when I asked the CEO his perspective on the management team he said, “Oh we’re fine, great communicators, and on and on.”
With the permission of the HR manager, I asked him, “Do you trust the opinion of your HR person?” “Of course,” he said. “She has a different perception, different insight, (after all HR heres about EVERYTHING)! Then I asked if he was willing to hear what she had to say.
Because he needed some coaching to really hear what she had to say and drop out of the denial and defensive mode that we all can get into, it was a very productive meeting. The short of it is, I went in to facilitated a session with the executive team before we worked with the entire company.
The first step in any change is awareness. We have to be willing to be aware of the reality of where we’re at and accept this is where we are. How much time and energy goes into being right, defensive posturing, and denial. This energy could be used to move forward in a more open and inspired way and create more synergy and vitality in our organizations. What do you think?