Today I was facilitating one of my favorite programs. One of the activities includes having the participants work in small groups to create timelines demonstrating the impact leadership and staff mistakes can have if they are permitted to continue. The activity created two great “ah-ha” moments for myself and the leaders involved.
The first moment occurred when a group decided to create a timeline that demonstrated when I personally may be called to resolve the aftermath of a continued mistake by a leader. This gave us all a good chuckle, however, the timeline spoke the truth. The reality is when do you call for help. It typically is when you are entering doom and gloom. Then we call for help and think HR or OD professionals have the magical fairy dust to sprinkle and reset our organization.
This leads to the next question, why? Why do we wait so long to involve the necessary parties? I believe it is because we hope whether unconsciously or knowingly that it will just better on its own. We hope because the preliminary symptoms are stupid. They are minuscule complaints that can be deemed and argued irrelevant to our business.
This leads to the second “ah-ha” moment, which was mostly experienced by the leaders partaking in the activity. Choosing to ignore or not address these symptoms only results in doom and gloom. Sure the length of the timeline may vary but the endpoint is the same. Today I repeatedly saw the final box on these timelines include phrases like, “fired, low morale, no respect, turnover.” Phrases that I believe do not reflect results that any leader is seeking in their business.
Don’t ignore the symptoms and hope for a cure. Be present, active and engaged. Let’s nip it in the bud when the signs first show.