The Adaptability Paradox

The Well Worn Path

Recently in the “Strategic Thinking for Leaders” Class I teach, I talked with students about how difficult it can be to change when we have been successfully doing something the same way for a long time.

The well worn path that we have followed for years is easy to follow. We know the rules, the processes, the tools, the pitfalls and all other aspects of that path.

Our comfort with that path makes it harder for us to see that even though the ‘way we have always done things’ has led us to success in the past, it may not in the future.

The Adaptability Paradox

Sometimes the familiarity of the well worn path makes it harder for us to see what’s changing around us. And even if we do see changes, we have to choose to adapt to them. One element that makes it difficult for us to easily embrace change is the time involved in learning new ways of doing things.

Learning Through Change

Adapting to change and learning new ways of doing our work makes our jobs easier – but only after an adjustment period. The paradox is this – When I adapt to change, it will be MORE DIFFICULT short term and also EASIER long term.  

More Difficult Initially, we must accept that it will be more difficult as we learn new tools, skills and approaches.

Easier Long-term, our productivity will increase and it will be easier for us to get work done. When we learn through the changes, our lives and work become EASIER because we are approaching them in new successful ways – with new thinking, new tools, new information and new skills.

Warning Signs

Here are some of the warning signs that our skills are becoming outdated:

  • People are routinely using terminology we don’t know
  • It is becoming more difficult to get things done the way we’ve always done them
  • People are not seeking out our input the way they used to
  • Coworkers are adapting to new approaches and are more productive than we are
  • There are new studies, books and articles being mentioned that we haven’t read
  • There is free technology for improving efficiency  in our line of business that we aren’t using
  • We feel out of the loop somehow but can’t quite figure out why

If we miss the signs of change (or if we see the signs but do not adapt), our skills become outdated fast – just as fast as the speed of change.

When a change in the world, our world, becomes a change we’ve ignored, then by doing nothing, we are actively choosing the more difficult path in the long run.

Questions for Reflection:

1. In what areas have I been missing the warning signs that my skills are becoming outdated?

2. How will I choose the easier path in the future by learning through these areas now?

3. How much easier and more productive could my work be after I make these changes?

Related Resources:

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For more, see new book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

Ethics Codes: Describing Expected Ethical Behavior

 

Ethics Codes are Recommended

You don’t have to be a big business to stray (intentionally or unintentionally) into unethical business behavior. That’s why ethics codes are recommended for any size business these days.

Do you have a code of ethics?

Does it support the ethics code for your industry, which you are also bound by?

Does it describe the ethical behavior that your organization expects?

Are employees held accountable for following it?

Resources for Creating a Code of Ethics

Use these very helpful resources to make sure that your ethical expectations are clear to everyone in the organization, and that your ethics code is current:

Ethics Toolkit Ethics Resource Center, ethics.org

Ethics Web  EthicsWeb.ca (deep collection of information, code of conduct examples & links to other websites)

How to Write a Code of Ethics by Josh Spiro, Inc. Magazine

Ethical Code  Wikipedia.com

522

For more, see new book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses 
© 2011 Leading in Context LLC 
 

Ethical Leadership Thinking: When we Attack an Issue

Ethical Leadership Thinking: Attacking Issues

When dealing with a troublesome business problem, it’s easy to get carried away and begin to attack people instead of the problem. This wastes time, takes energy away from finding solutions and leaves people demoralized.

Let’s look at the important differences between attacking people and attacking issues:

When we Attack a Person our Language is Less Respectful and Our Thinking is Narrowing

When we attack people, our thinking narrows and our approach is not usually responsible. Our words may not be carefully chosen and we may speak in anger.

  • We use raised voices and disrespectful language
  • We accuse and blame, which leads away from solutions
  • We have no tolerance for other perspectives

When we Attack an Issue, We are More Respectful and Our Thinking is Broadening

When we attack issues, we use a much more respectful approach with others. We focus on getting a more complete perspective, and seek to understand the issue more clearly.

  • We are seeking information
  • We are seeking understanding
  • Other perspectives help us understand the issue
  • We are more respectful

Examining Our Thinking and Our Leadership 

If you think that as a leader you would never attack a person, ask yourself this question:

Have I ever made remarks (even if they are made privately or intended to be a joke) about a political party, person, organization, entity, club, or any other group of persons that sounded disrespectful to anyone else? How did it make them feel? Did they let me know?

When we attack a person or group, we erode trust, even if the person we are attacking is not there. If we will attack someone who is not present it raises the concern that we may berate others when they are not there to defend their reputations.

Attacking Issues or Attacking People?

  • Which problem-solving approach do you think is more ethical?
  • Which approach are you modeling and rewarding in your leadership?
  • Which approach do other leaders in your organization use?

 

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For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?
 
  7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
  About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2010 Leading in Context LLC 

5 Unethical Phrases: Ignoring Boundaries

Boundaries can be simply described as lines that we don’t cross when doing business.  Respecting these (sometimes clear, sometimes hazy) boundaries is an important part of today’s ethical leadership.

The 5 phrases below signal that the speaker is ignoring an important ethical boundary:

1. “Please don’t tell Human Resources.”

2. “I’m not supposed to tell you this, but…”

3. “No one will find out.”

4. “I know that’s what they told you in Orientation, but we’re different here.”

5. “It doesn’t really hurt anybody. What are you so worried about?”

 

Which boundaries are being ignored?

Number 1 ignores the boundary of open employee access to HR, and indicates that what the speaker is doing would be stopped if HR knew about it.

Number 2 ignores confidentiality.

Number 3 ignores transparency and honesty, and indicates that the speaker is probably doing something that either violates a direct policy or law, or is considered inappropriate in a business setting.

Number 4 ignores corporate expectations and alignment with stated corporate culture.

Number 5 ignores the concerns of a fellow employee, and indicates that the speaker may be defining “harm” too narrowly.

 

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For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?
 
  7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
  About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2010 Leading in Context LLC 

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