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Constraints - Don't demonise employees who raise problems...

So we all know a person such as this at work: the disruptor in finance or marketing, accounts who always asks the tough questions. The questions that make you squirm in your seat. Often with a blunt directness that makes the squirm worse. 


The one who is a dissident voice. Difficult. Disagreeable. Challenging. Agitators. Even annoying at times. Someone who operates in a dissident fashion who is critical of many things in the company. 


How are these problem identifiers seen in your company? Troublemakers? Purely as a necessary evil to bear or as someone who in fact adds value on another side of the food chain? Is this seen as a normal input or is it viewed in your organisation as a negative that someone, somewhere is going to have to deal with sooner or later? “We’ll talk to Mavis about this. How can she say that when we’ve all worked so hard on this project?” 


How many superb ideas were sprung exactly due to the fact that the owners of these thoughts were people who saw things from a different perspective? Or is there still more room for improvement on the new innovation?


There surely cannot be any growth in the short and long term without there being the Mavis’ of the world, or the Einsteins, the Bell’s and the Jobs’.


Those who question. Those who probe. Who raise problems. Those who interrogate, push and prod at problems. Those who almost disturb the mindset. Blow apart assumptions and shatter attachments.


Imagine for a second  - if you are not one of these people - do they sometimes feel as if they may undermine the boss and his decisions? That they might actually be irritating? Annoying or even seem to ask silly questions at times. If you see it from this perspective for a second or two you may realise that often these types of people are in fact very brave. They are inquisitive and push on regardless of what people may or may not think about them.   


People who operate like this often hold the key to growth, new thinking and innovation in companies. 


Yet, astoundingly in this day and age, some managers, business owners superiors and executives have a tendency to demonise these very employees. Very often the “problem-raisers” are seen as or accused of actually being the problem instead of firstly identifying the problem, raising it and then perhaps solving the problem once it is out in the open and can be discussed, dissected and eventually dispelled. They should be the critical focus through which you see your company, division or office…almost on a daily basis.


What is very clear in this scenario is that the leaders who dismiss or demonise the problem-solvers severely limit their organisation and it’s growth. It’s been proven over and over. Critical voices which are divergent are vitally necessary for innovation. Despite allegiances and  employees who “have always done it this way.” Those in charge need to lend an ear to every single idea, even if it seems totally contrary to proven, old and reliable ways of dong things. Or put another way counter-intuitively to what has been the accepted practise. 


Now ask yourself: is our company culture such that an individual or a team can indeed speak up? Do they feel free to identify, highlight and pinpoint problems. Speak up and then conversely and are the management group open to hearing it and not defending nor deflecting? 


These supposed naysayers are as a matter of fact identifying opportunities for growth and innovation…but do you and your style of management see it in that light?


But how do you become a market leader if you do not challenge the status quo. How did Microsoft, Google and Apple become the leaders that they are today? By asking the uncomfortable questions, and then finding solutions for them.   


However, that brings another factor into play. Is your organisational leadership attuned to listening? What do they hear? Is it a true reflection of what is being said? What is your capacity to hear the bad news as opposed to the good.


In a company culture where honest, truthful feedback is valued, when it is provided with the correct intentions, then there can be forward movement. The intention is a very important factor. If problems are pointed out due to office politics, points scoring off colleagues or to further careers at the risk of to others careers then it has to be interrogated. But good old, honest championing of problems and challenges can mean that change is embraced.


That the uncomfortable can open up new avenues of doing things and be innovative. There has to be defined processes because things change very quickly in our world. It’s dynamic and fluid and we all need to be teachable at all times.


In this course we address all of these challenges and prepare you and your company for the inevitable. Those Mavis’ of the world who challenge. The dissident voices who identify problems, speak up and push in the direction of solution and innovation.  Pushing limits.   


Those very people without whom one cannot grow into a formidable force. 

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