Is Your Own House in Order?
For better or worse – probably worse – I find myself sometimes so tired at home that I fall back to the television and an unreasonably comfortable chair. (The Leisure Commander.) It is not exactly a productive end to the day, but it is relaxing.
In doing so, I have come across a television show titled “Holmes on Homes” that is pretty hard to turn off, and I think I’ve figured out why.
The basic plot on Holmes on Homes is the same every time; a distressed homeowner calls up Mike Holmes with some problem – a leak, mold, flooring that is buckling, a system failing, etc. Holmes comes out with his instruments and declares whatever he is looking at a total mess, and then brings in the crews to “make it right.”
The juice in the plot is vicariously enjoying seeing an existing system or product analyzed, spoken about with disdain, ripped out, and then replaced with something new that works functionally and beautifully.
It feels so good when everything is put right.
Leadership development, coaching, adult development and growth are not so different (minus the disdain).
We often start with an extraverted behavior or communication that is not working; someone is micromanaging, creating tension, not getting results or failing in some way. We spend some time talking with those involved and start to get a picture of what is happening.
The real work is often helping leaders figure out what isn’t working in their “system,” taking it out and replacing it with something that works functionally and beautifully. It’s getting beneath the surface to reveal the assumptions, values, beliefs and interpretation of reality that give rise to the behavior – the presenting symptom.
A classic example is the manager who can’t get people to take more initiative. A little probing usually reveals that those who did so in any way different from what the manager would have done got punished. That is often not initially apparent to the manager.
It is hard to see behind the walls in your house, and it’s hard to see inside yourself sometimes to connect the dots on workplace problems. Very few clients have called us up and said, “I’m the problem. Come fix me.” (We have had more than a few who point to others and say, “Fix him/her/them.”)
You never know where these things may lead, but any time things aren’t working it’s worth asking, “Is my own house in order?”