Facing problems head on...always fun

Facing problems head on...always fun

23 Mar 2018

Facing problems head on...always fun teaser
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Self reflection (not the pond type)

We've got a few bits of content focused on self reflection in this issue. First up, a bit of self therapy about getting sick as a leader, then straight into a quick video about getting yourself sorted (3 mins). We wrap up with a look into what happens when your 'consumer' (stakeholders) misbehave and you cop it.

Stakeholders are great...until they are not.

Out with the flu
This week I had my annual meeting with the flu virus. It always wins, in spite of flu jabs, hand washing, etc. The last two times have put me in the hospital, serious stuff. Missed three days of work this week and have been feeling as guilty as the middle child for eating the last biscuit in the jar (I stole the cookie, that's right!). 

Rather than wallowing in the guilt, I thought I'd do a bit of self reflection. Why the guilt:
  • I've got a holiday coming up soon, so it feels like I'm ducking out before I duck out
  • There is a metric tonne of work to do
  • The team needs me to pull my weight at all times!
Sound familiar? I think we all inherently hate taking sick days when we really love our work (I love my job), so we can't help but feel guilty. The reality is a bit different though. Forbes has this interesting opinion piece that visits the inner story we create and encourages us to ask three simple questions to reset our truth:
  1. Ask yourself if you are being fair towards yourself (the same as you would an employee)
  2. Ask whether the pattern of thinking is deflating or inspiring
  3. If someone said to you what you are saying to yourself, would you push back on that narrative?
These simple questions can ensure you reset the inner dialogue. The other important points are you will spare your team the meeting with the Flu and help ensure your own health gets back on track faster.

We will meet again, sir
One of 'those' people
I've coped flack over the years for being one of those motivational quote, aspirational video types of people. Not because I think it's me against the world or I have some crazy desire to be the next Steve Jobs. I watch them because
1. I can relate to some of the struggles they speak to (have had my fair share)
2. They are short pockets of positivity that can refocus you during challenging times
3. They have the BEST music (if you like theatrical scores). I know...perplexing.

I don't share these often but the two principals from this resonated well in the sea of busyness that is life:
  1. Prioritisation
  2. Execution
Those two things are a WHOLE lot of what leadership really boils down to. It's a 3 minute video about refocusing when things get tough. Give it a whirl. I can't promise I won't share more in future.

Cue the Hans Zimmer music!
Former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink will push you to fight the good fight
Can't we all just be responsible?
I noticed an interesting, but oddly similar pattern this week in the media. Two unrelated stories with similar issues. 
  1. In Tempe, Arizona the first death of a pedestrian occurred via an autonomous vehicle. Tempe has been one of the most liberal cities in terms of allowing legal latitudes for autonomous vehicle testing so companies have flocked there to run the tests. The death was caused by an Uber vehicle that was indeed following laws and protocol, hence it being an ACCIDENT. The mayor of Tempe has since copped it for his defence of the Town's support for these tests.
  2. In London UK, Cambridge Analytica has just been blacklisted from Facebook for using social media quizzes (think "what kind of Avocado are you") to profile people's personalities and use fake news to influence their voting patterns. Horrible stuff no matter how you slice it. The twist: Facebook's shares fell 7% e.g. $37 BILLION dollars following the news breaking on Cambridge Analytica's morally bankrupt practices and it pulled the other big players down with it.

According to CB Insights findings (graph above), people think Facebook is terrible for society. Ignoring that, what do these have in common?

Stakeholder behaviours affecting leaders and their organisations by association / ecosystem corruption. In the first story, the town and its mayor had nothing to do with the ACCIDENT (see definition of accident) but are the focus of the blame. In the second story, Facebook (up to this point) had no knowledge, involvement or support of Cambridge Analytica's activities but paid an insane price and is now the focus of multiple legal investigations. Some say that a psych they hired in (see here) was involved but the jury is still out.

Suspicions and disdain for Tech Corporates aside, to what point do organisations have to wear the actions of their stakeholders, in spite of their lack of involvement or attribution? There really isn't an easy answer, but as leaders, where do we hold the line?

If dropped into Facebook, I'd be angry as all h3ll for the gaming of the ecosystem, but I wouldn't be happy to wear the onslaught that follows. At some point, stakeholders need to take responsibility and the blame shouldn't sit with those easiest to blame but with those who caused the issue. I'm sure there will be more to this story as it unfolds, but for now its hard to sit the bulk of the blame on Facebook.

Leadership is fraught with complex issues like these, we can only do our best to keep our noses clean.

If you can't do the time, don't commit the crime
I'm away on leave next week, walking the muggy streets of Thailand. Jenny, our marketing extraordinaire will be writing next week's newsletter. Be nice, she is new!

Also, if you are enjoying the newsletter, please do send it to a friend or colleague. The more people that I can send my awful humour to, the better. Link here

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Make Shift Happen. Happy Friday.


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