Lessons from a Broken System
I recently heard an independent political analyst talk about the current state of politics in the US and he suggested that we currently have a “broken system”. As someone who has been disenchanted with our political system for quite some time, I couldn’t agree more. He proceeded to list the reasons for why we’ve ended up where we are today and I kept thinking that these were simply good life lessons. I’d like to share four points in particular that really hit home for me. By being aware of these things I’m hopeful that we can avoid potential pitfalls that cause businesses and organizations to fail and systems to become “broken”.
1) “Wrath of Negativity” – yes, a negative message may be stickier and take far less repetition to hit home than a positive one. But if we want to create a positive environment then we must work harder to reinforce those positive messages and behaviors. As leaders we must resist the urge to get dragged into the drama, stress and negativity that rears it’s ugly head every day and instead utilize positivity to motivate and inspire our teams.
2) “The Influence of Money” – The political system has obviously been significantly impacted by money. We must be fiscally responsible and making money is part of business, but I think it’s interesting to look at how money impacts our individual decisions and the impact on an organization. Do your values and behaviors change because of money? Or are they solid enough to not be impacted by swings in one direction or the other? Do you take on clients that don’t fit your business model or take advantage of you and your team because they are the “client”? Or do you turn down the business and stand up for your team and company values?
3) “Compromise has become a dirty word” – I think business is a constant game of give and take and we must compromise every day in order to be successful. “Compromise” hasn’t always been a dirty word in the political arena. If you look back many years you can find great examples of people working together with different beliefs to accomplish monumental achievements. If you are not careful, important situations can quickly become a zero sum game where there is only one winner and one loser and no willingness to compromise. Most of life is not black and white, but rather somewhere in between. Are you looking for that spot? or simply focused on trying to be right?
4) “Socializing in a bubble of our own political camp/Seeking out media that confirms our beliefs” – I agree that we tend to gravitate toward those with similar beliefs and seek out information that proves our point. This was a terrific reminder that in order to truly move forward and accomplish great things, we must get out of our comfort zone, listen to those with different beliefs and strive to understand why someone may not agree with our position.
I hope you’ll keep a few of these things in mind as they come up in your professional and personal lives. As I mentioned, being aware of them is half the battle, the second half is doing something about it!