Sunday, July 1, 2012

Act of Aggression

An undiscussable is a work-related problem that people hesitate to address with those who can do something about it. It isn't that people don't talk about undiscussables. They talk about them frequently -- in the hallways and parking lots, bathrooms and across the cubicles. But it isn't with the person or the people most often associated with the issues. AKA "the dead moose on the table," it's what people come out of a meeting to share with one another privately that should have been part of the agenda.
Source: Unfolding Leadership
In every organization, there's is that which must not be spoken of. We spend our time avoiding it. It is a truth that some know but will not share. It is a truth that exists but no one acknowledges but everyone lives by. It is a truth that results in exile, that is never spoken because those who know it would rather use it as a weapon against those they are responsible for and to. In fact, it is to phrase these truths in inoffensive ways that administrators spend hours crafting a 2-3 paragraph memo or email.

In these organizations, the undiscussables are just so because they are too ridiculous to speak aloud, so obvious in their deceitfulness, their duplicity, that to "put the skunk on the table" is to get yourself fired or to be excluded. I've experienced it and seen it happen. And, I can think of no better reason to end up ostracized or dismissed from service.

Telling the truth means letting it work its power on you, too, not just everyone else.

Nicholas Humphrey wrote, "To speak the truth among people who do not want to hear it is considered almost an aggressive act--an invasion of privacy, a trespass into someone else's space. Not nice, not done." My experiences lead me to the idea that speaking the truth IS always an aggressive act to those who prefer to dwell in lies. Regrettably, sometimes each of us may find him/her-self in such a fragile dwelling. Now, we have an option. 
Used to be, if you wanted to get a message out into the market, you would give a talk at a conference, a reporter would write down some of what you said and mangle the rest, and you'd call it a day. Or, you could shortcut the process by simply giving an interview to the reporter and letting him mangle what you said directly. These days, you have the option of staying home, blogging in your underwear, and not having your words mangled. I think I like the direction things are headed. Mid-year resolution #1: No more public speaking. Mid-year resolution #2: More blogging.
Source: Marc Andreessen
Yet, the one lesson I have to keep in mind is that if one commits to making a difference, then problems must be resolved. Simply, my goal isn't to prove the other person wrong, to show them up as a liar, but to find better ways to work together. It is a hard lesson, one that I am ever reminding myself to practice.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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