Enlightened Conflict

navigators versus sledge hammers

January 4th, 2017

Innovative solution plan as a pencil trying to find way out of maze breaking through the labyrinth as a business concept and creative metaphor for strategy success and planning achievement.

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“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

—-

Plato

 

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“A person who can think differently and truly on his feet will always find it difficult to sit and fit as an employee in a workplace, for his attitude & approach towards the work will often hit the ego of most co-workers.”

 

Anuj Somany

 

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“If u want to work in Corporate, then u should know how to play Chess.”

honeya

 

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Ok.

 

I was asked recently about a past job I had where I had struggled to be sledge-hammer-maze-business-get-shit-donesuccessful. After hemming and hawing a little <I have never really been sure what hemming or hawing was> I answered “the position required a dedicated navigator with navigator skills and I am a sledgehammer with some navigator vision.”

 

<note: I didn’t understand that until actually into the role & assumed responsibility>

 

 

Yeah.

 

I am a sledge hammer.

Always have been and I assume I always will be.

 

I respect navigators but they are too slow for my tastes, far too often worried about political correctness and always too skewed toward what is important politically versus ‘what is the right thing to do.’

 

Ok.

 

Let me explain navigators and sledge hammers.

 

In business, there are just some people who see office politics <which all organizations have whether you like it or not> and they have the skills and vision to navigate them to get shit done <they also tend to benefit personally with this skill>.

 

In business, there are just some people who want to get the right shit done and believe if it is right then … well … it is better to just say ‘damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead’ rather than screw around with navigating people’s feelings and politics.

 

 

Now.

 

That doesn’t mean that sometimes a navigator isn’t more effective and that a navigator, which is tightly associated with someone who can play office politics, is always a corporate whore.stay the course direction path compass

 

That also doesn’t mean that there aren’t navigators with good moral compasses because there are a shitload of navigator managers who are skilled organizational politicians who do not showcase questionable behavior or even distastefully ‘sucking-up’ behavior.

 

Pretty much any leader worth a shit takes a realistic approach to managing around workplace politics. This does not mean they are ‘political’, per se, or want to play the political game … it’s just they understand that you have to navigate competing interests, whatever resources may be available, the nuances of what is viewed as authority <and who has the authority … which is most typically “enough to hang yourself’>, the bendable organizational rules and whatever information is available.

 

And, to be clear, the best of the navigators have a sledge hammer in their tool box <and use it on occasion>.

 

And, to be clear, the best of the sledge hammers have either some navigational skills or, at minimum, navigational vision <i.e., they can ‘see’ the politics and organizational rubble affecting your path>.

 

Me?

 

I am a sledgehammer.

 

I like to get shit done.

do what communiqueAlways have and always will.

 

Okay.

 

I like getting smart shit done.

 

And I really like getting smart ‘right’ shit done.

 

The nuance between that stuff is clear … if all I did was get shit done, smart & right being set aside, politics and navigating would become almost irrelevant.

Because then you are simply a doer <not a thinker or a thinker/doer>.

 

But even as a sledge hammer you recognize that whether you hate it, admire it, practice it or avoid it, office politics is a fact of life in any organization. And, like it or not, it’s something that you need to understand to insure not only your professional success but the success of the good shit you want to do.

 

Yeah. Sure.

“Politics” certainly has a negative connotation. It most often refers to strategies people use to seek advantage at the expense of others or the greater good.

In this context, it often adversely affects the working environment and relationships within it.

 

<and sledge hammers abhor this type of politics bullshit>

 

I hesitate to suggest there could ever be something called “good office politics” but some organizational expert asshats believe that is the kind of crap you do which helps you fairly promote yourself and your ideas <they call it networking and stakeholder management … I call it the ‘necessary bullshit you just have to suck up and do in order to get good shit done’>.

 

As a sledge hammer I realized that there were some things that a navigator thinking-maze-navigator-business-sledge-hammer-do-shitwas good at and I should learn if I wanted to be a more effective sledgehammer.

 

About the only thing I truly value in a navigator is “social astuteness.”

 

This is the ability to read and anticipate situations – allows you to prepare, adapt and tailor your behavior based on the people and conditions around you.

In my words this is being aware of the people & what they believe and the situation organizationally.

 

Let’s just call this “context” <at least that is how a sledgehammer views it>.

 

Now.

 

Being aware is different than acting upon it.

Being aware meant that it prepared me, and my groups, to manage the carnage or consequences of slamming your way straight thru a maze.

 

As a sledge hammer it pays to understand the real map, or maze, of the organization.

Internal politics, more often than not, has little to do with the real organizational chart they give you when you sign on.

 

Someone outlined this important crap to be aware of really well:

    Who are the real influencers?

    Who has authority but doesn’t exercise it?

    Who is respected?

    Who champions or mentors others?

    Who is “the brains behind the organization”?

 

 

As a sledge hammer I realized there were absolutely some things that were in my control as I bashed my way through the middle of the maze getting to where I believed an idea, or the business at large should go.

 

office-politics-navigator-sledgehammer-business-jerks-speechBut, as a sledge hammer, I also recognized I needed to manage my own behavior <this lesson took some time … and learned thru some painful trial & error>.

 

Through watching others and some painful trial & error you learn what works in your organization’s culture.

 

But you learn really fast … as in REALLY fast … that as a sledge hammer you invest exactly 0% of your time and 0 energy on:

 

 

  • Gossip & spreading rumors: you learn to shut up and even when you hear something you wait and assess the credibility

 

  • interpersonal conflicts – you avoid “like/dislike people” discussions and certainly do not get sucked into arguments

 

 

  • Integrity above all: this is a sledge hammer mantra … be professional, do not cut corners, do things right and always remember the organization’s interests

 

  • No complaining: a sledgehammer accepts it will not be easy and you don’t whine about the tough path you have chosen <because it is the path you have chosen>

 

  • Confidence: a sledgehammer is assertive not arrogant, proactive maybe edging on aggressive without ever sneaking into aggressiveness

 

  • Never personal: a sledge hammer has only one thing in focus … the good of the organization <it is NEVER personal>

 

  • Transparency:  assume everything is gonna be seen anyway so you may as well share it all

 

 

Look.

 

Here is what I know.

 

no-way-said-that-in-a-meeting-sledgehammer-goes-right

……… whoa … did you guys do THAT ………..

When you are a sledgehammer and everything goes right it is not only the best in the world for you but organizationally everyone kind of goes “whoa, that was something.”

 

<which is kind of cool and makes it all worthwhile>

 

 

I will admit.

 

Being a sledgehammer is a lonelier way to conduct business than being a navigator. It isn’t that you are not liked nor does it mean you aren’t viewed as a team member at the table but navigators, I tend to believe, are just more social human beings & employees.

 

But sledge hammers have one thing in common … we are all homesick for an organization where we can not think about anything but getting good smart shit done.

 

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“I am homesick for a place I am not sure even exists.

One where my heart is full. My body loved. And my soul understood.

 

(via lipstick-bullet)

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how beautiful it is to let things go

September 22nd, 2016

autumn-rain-fall

 

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”

 

—–

Unknown

(via ginger-and-preppy)

 

 

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“You can’t be who you’re going to be and who you used to be at the same time …”

 

—–

TD Jakes

 

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Today is the first day of Fall.

 

first day of fall 2016 google

……………………………. first day of fall 2016 google ……………….

 

 

It is kind of a reminder to everyone that everything is temporary.

 

On another note.

I do also sometimes find it slightly strange that death and dying can contain so much beauty.

 

 

Anyway.

 

I kind of find it nice that Life, in the form of seasons, forces us to let go of things. And while we even go kicking and screaming with regard to seasons Life ignores us … moves on … lets go of the last season … offers us a new season … and once we get over it … we are once again shown how beautiful it can be to let shit go.

 

I kind of find it nice that Life, in the form of seasons, forces us to distinguish what often looks the same from one day to the next. as we keep our heads down to the Life grindstone and each day dawns without any major incident, other than  the same aggravating everyday incidents which inevitably occur, Life ignores our obliviousness … moves on … let’s go of another season … offers a new season … and we get over the fact we actually have to lift our heads up and pay attention for a little but … we are once again shown how beautiful it is to let some shit go.

 

 

“Between the end of that strange summer and the approach of winter, my life went on without change. Each day would dawn without incident and end as it had begun. It rained a lot in September. October had several warm, sweaty days. Aside from the weather, there was hardly anything to distinguish one day from the next.”

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

 

 

I kind of find it nice that Life, in the form of seasons, forces us to think a little bit about who we want to be … who we are … and provides some real life aspects to show us how difficult it is to be who you used to be and who you are going to be at the exact same time.

 

Look.

 

letters to myself note to future selfI am not a huge Fall person. I am more of a spring person. Heck. I have even suggested we move New Year’s Day to the 1st day of spring  because I think it would make new year’s less depressing and more hopeful.

 

But I admit that Fall, even more so than Spring, forces us to face our feelings, thoughts, doubts, dreams and fears with a fairly discerning eye. An eye that views ‘what could be’ with a little more sense of urgency.

 

Sigh.

 

Falling leaves can do that to you.

 

Better seems a little bit harder.

 

Better seems to have more of a deadline.

 

I think we all seek a great perhaps of “what I know can be”.

I think we all know what a better world really looks like.

I think we all want to see the beauty that can be found in what is better in everyone.

 

And maybe it is within Fall and the falling leaves we better grasp that failed plans and failed dreams can beget new plans and new dreams.

 

Maybe it is within Fall that we are able to see that new realities can lead to needed life changes.

 

Maybe it is Fall that reminds us even in times of ‘things slipping away’ you can still find abundance.

 

Maybe it is Fall that reminds us that Life is a healthy mix of duality … life & death and the ebb & flow of growth and regress.

 

Maybe Fall reminds those who have a view that a happy and fulfilling life should consist only of highs <or maybe better said … a significantly higher % of highs than lows> and that a positive life should consist only of certainty <shelving fear and doubt to be successful> that happiness & fulfillment also embraces the ebbs in seasons as well as the flows of seasons. autumn-second-spring

 

Maybe Fall reminds us that no matter how you plan your day, year, or life, it will have times of … the best, the worst, wisdom, foolishness, belief, incredulity, light, darkness, hope, despair, everything and nothing.

 

Maybe Fall simply reminds us that time goes on, things come & go and we always have an opportunity to begin again … arise anew after the Fall as it were.

 

Maybe Fall exists just to remind us to think a little.

if you have a choice between the right or wrong

September 20th, 2016

now or_never_web_design_grande

 

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“Be strong.

Don’t be a follower.

Always do the right thing.

If you have a choice between the right or wrong, do the right. “

 

Jennifer Lawrence

 

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Ok.

 

reality welcome sign

 

I am a huge proponent of doing the right thing.

 

But.

 

We act like choices walk up and down the street wearing huge signs saying “I am the right thing.”

 

It just is not that easy.

 

And today I am not talking about when the right thing to do is impossible but rather when you truly do not want to follow along blindly and truly want to make the right choice and do ‘right’ and … shit … uh oh … a lot of choices look ‘right.’

 

In this situation I can equivocally state that some ‘wrong’ is cleverly disguised as ‘right’ as they intermingle with right, somewhat right, very right, kind of right and ‘incredibly right feeling but not practically the thing that benefits the most.’

 

This is not about any bias with regard to what is right or wrong or even necessarily about opinions.

 

This is simply about the fact even when you actually stop long enough to ponder <which is not often> the ‘choice du jour’ can appear to have multiple shades of ‘right.’

 

Uhm.

At least to you.

 

Because you are gonna get screwed in this situation no matter what.

 

I say that because while you stand there with a range of ‘rights’ in front of you I can guarantee that some loud mouthed asshat is gonna be pointing at one going “that one, that one , that one!!”hands-waving-in-air-panic-jo

 

 

<sometimes accompanied by a lot of hand waving>

 

 

 

Okay.

 

 

There will most likely be a number of asshats pointing at one of them.

 

Okay.

 

There will also most likely be a number of asshats not even there who will eventually wave their hands and point out that you should have chosen some other ‘right’ then the one you did.

 

Now.

 

While I could simply suggest that there are just a lot of asshats out there in the world and that is part of Life … I will not.

 

Because the asshats will always be there and your choices will always be your choices.

 

Yet, while the choices are yours, the outcomes are not necessarily yours <which is why ‘right’ is a very very tricky topic>.

 

I can honestly say that the best choice is the one you can see the farthest on.

 

friends unfluencers ripples2The best choice makers have the ‘far sight’ ability.

 

Let me explain far sight because it isn’t easy as ‘seeing ripples’ or even ‘see the end result.’

 

A choice is rarely simple cause and effect.

 

It is more the starting gate from which effect springs forth. And, uhm, it is not a 100 yard dash type race where you stay in your lane and everything else stays in its lane.

Your choice actually enters its own little survival race needing to zig and zag in order to avoid the inevitable things which will attempt to steer it off its intended course.

It needs to be strong enough to absorb some hits.

And smart enough to adapt when appropriate.

 

Not everyone can see far when making a choice and not everyone can actually choose the choice with the highest likelihood of survival. And even the best choice makers don’t get it right 100% of the time.

 

All that said.

 

If you think about choices this way one of two things could happen … you can simply feel a sense of helplessness and say “well, my choice probably won’t matter in the end anyway” … or you can just become overly cynical with regard to “right in today’s world.”

 

Yes.

 

Society, life and people are relentlessly tough on ‘doing right.’

 

But here is what I know about choosing between right and wrong.

 

The attempt matters.courage to keep trying succeed try

 

While it is incredibly tempting to think nothing will change … if you refuse to believe that … well … the next 10 choices you make could shape 10 different futures and maybe shape things that can happen over the next 10 years.

 

And that, my friends, may be the only reason to ‘do right’ when having a choice between right and wrong.

Enlightened Conflict