“True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing”
A quote of its time clearly but the point. Understanding that you do not have to know everything. Is OK.
Many people at top management level are afraid to admit that they do not know the answer. As a result, they make decisions when they are not in the best position to do so. It follows that many of those decisions create unsuccessful outcomes – as well as frustration for those that did know’and were not asked.
Those who profess to know everything will inevitably proceed to do or control everything, frustrating all those around them.
At university I studied Physics and Chemistry. Physics can be defined as the study of matter and energy and the interactions between the two. These interactions are termed forces. Isaac Newton proposed his third law of motion that states, “For every action [i.e. force], there is an equal and opposite reaction”. When you sit in your chair, your body exerts a downward force on the chair and the chair exerts an upward force on your body. There are two forces resulting from this interaction – a force on the chair and a force on your body.
Finding out about the plans clients and prospects have for the transformation of their business is one of the greatest perks of my job. One of the greatest frustrations is to hear, quite often, the same reasons why an internal communication initiative or employee engagement is the wrong thing to do.
Involve or Exclude?
It makes no sense to exclude the very people who are going to be affected by the coming changes and yet repeatedly they are. Since the days of Coch and French, who in 1948 who in there article “Overcoming Resistance to Change” it has been known that there is a highly beneficial impact of involving people in changes that affect them.
When people are excluded from the change process from the very beginning, they rarely exhibit the necessary levels of ownership and commitment to see the new idea or strategy through to successful implementation.
Much has been made of the idea that organisational memory inhibits changes that senior managers want to make. They feel plagued by the attitude still clung to by some that “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” And, if truth be told, then there’s no question that that conviction will prevent modifications from being made, no matter how positive they are.
All this effort..! Why are we not making progress..?
Are such memories bad?
That doesn’t mean, however, that such memories will always prevent you from making the changes that you want to or that if they do, that that is necessarily a bad thing. It could prevent you, for example, from doing something that sounds great on paper, but for very good reasons won’t work in practice. For instance, let’s say that you want to delegate some of what you do to those that you supervise. It could be that because of the uniqueness of your situation that you can’t do it legally – that there’s something quirky in the law that makes it so; and however illogical it seems, you nevertheless must do it because that responsibility comes by virtue of the position that you hold.
Or how about this?
You decide that you want to clear out the clutter. No one ever looks at that stuff anyway. What you don’t know, however, is that there are some early studies among those notebooks, feasibility studies, for example, that go into considerable detail about the consequences of changing the things on your hit-list. If you ignore those few people who remember the value contained in them, then you could be discarding a lot of irreplaceable information that could cost your organisation dear.