“Let’s open a can of worms!” my client exclaimed. “Be careful what you wish for,” I thought to myself.
It is exciting to move forward with a new initiative for your business. You have observed lack of performance optimization (a polite way of saying dysfunction) for so long, you can taste it. As a member of the C-Suite or General Management, you know something has to change.
Sometimes you are just not sure what.
Sales are flat or, alternatively, your regional sales team just blew another quarterly quota target. Perhaps you are doing business in a legacy manner. Alternatively, you sense you are poised for growth. Then again, your engineers are giving away billable time as ad hoc consultants for peers who call them with a “problem” (which is interpreted as an opportunity for business).
Regardless of the scenario, you are stuck where you are. Your people are stuck where they are. Your business is stuck, as well.
So you bring in another consultant to “fix” things. To give you a prescriptive process or methodology to follow. Another promise of success. This time will be different.
You have just re-opened a can of worms. In fact, you have opened the same status quo can of worms that has you stuck in the mud, spinning your wheels, moving nowhere.
Why? Why again?
From your perspective, that can of worms is something you are observing from afar. It is not your problem It is “their” problem. “They” need to be fixed.
The reason that can of worms got to be that can of worms is historical (I said historical, not hysterical).
You are in a position to dole out another dose of command-and-control management at your sales, engineering, business development, project management, you-name-it team. This time you hope you’ve got it right. If not, no worries. You will try again.
Aren’t you getting tired of wear-wash-rinse-repeat syndrome?
Gotta tell you. Those worms in those cans are getting real tired of being confined. They want to get out of there and do what worms do: make your business soil fertile for growth. They don’t even remember how they got in the can in the first place.
The can of cultural, process, mindset, habitual and contextual worms you are dealing with needs one more added factor to break the chain of status quo non-productive results. The can of worms needs your commitment.
Often, what is holding you and your people back from moving one millimeter outside of your collective comfort zones is collective accountability.
Often, this is not “their” problem. It is a collective problem within a collective perspective and assumption of collective responsibility. Collective leadership.
You see, those cans of worms want to be opened. They want to leave the stifling confines of those cans. They want to be liberated so they can create, innovate, learn, stimulate and expand. Lead some and follow some.
They want to be healthy worms. Happy worms. They don’t ever want to return to those cans again.
Does your can of worms look a little bit different now? Ready to open it? Together.
Babette N. Ten Haken is a management strategist and team-building leadership coach. She helps teams, startups and businesses who wrestle with unpredictable revenue streams. Her Workshops and Playbooks create more productive and profitable teams in healthier organizations. Her Playbook on leadership and business strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.
Photo courtesy of babettetenhaken.com. One of the happy worms that sits on my desk and greets me each morning! 😉