Stop the seasons, I just want summer.
High achievers learn to do what others can’t do. They set themselves high goals and develop a belief system that nothing is impossible. They gather supporters to help achieve their goals, those supporters are inspired by the “can do” attitude especially when they think “it cant be done”.
Of course there are physical limits to every scenario. Some high achievers never stumble into them and so their belief is never challenged. Sometimes things change. Resources are removed, people leave, health deteriorates, and suddenly the impossible becomes unattainable. This is a shock to the high achiever.
The concept of working within limits is completely foreign. To cut back feels like failure. To design a job around available resources feels like a cage. It is normal for organisations to cut back resources and still expect staff to do the same job. This causes staff burnout and churn which continues until expectations finally meet reality. This comes after much money is lost, many staff are lost, and market share is lost. Management is often very slow to act. Staff caught in the middle of these cut backs have three choices – try and achieve impossible goals and burnout, leave before they burn out, or cut back voluntarily to do only what is possible.
The third option is very difficult for high achievers, very difficult to explain to management who have no real idea of the practicalities of their cut backs, and will wind up with management blaming staff for their inability to do the job rather than accept responsibility themselves for removing resources. The glimmer of hope is if a staff member can find a way to communicate and educate management to accept real outcomes and understand the consequences of expecting unrealistic ones.
This puts the onus back on staff, which is unfair since they didn’t do the cutbacks and weren’t involved in the decision making. And so even staff who may be able to communicate and educate, may choose not to try. Depending on employment opportunities staff will put their head down and do the least they can to keep their job, thus creating spectacular inefficiencies. Funny to watch organizations go through the cycles of growth, maturity, decline, cut back. Funny because they don’t learn. Funny because management are surprised by change. Funny because every young manager thinks they will be the one to defy physics.
But, it is not funny that good people get sick, sacked, and saddened by managers who can’t calibrate and simply make reactive cuts and load burdens onto their staff. I watched it too often and I suppose that’s a reason I got out of organizations to consult to them – I hoped to communicate and educate from outside the organization, align management with the cycles or seasons of our physical universe, and work with cycles rather than react to them.
And I fundamentally believe that when management and staff work together to manage seasons and work with them, everyone can enjoy their work or job, everyone can experience satisfaction and personal growth, everyone can achieve good results!
Mia’s note: If MCT’s wisdom doesn’t hold good at your workplace, try this…