When you assign professional labels to a person, behavior, or process, will you stop thinking about taking further action?
First, there is some level of intellectual satisfaction in recognizing what you observe. Perhaps you are trained as a coach or function as a mentor. As a result, there is something self-affirming in knowing the right nomenclature to assign to a specific individual or particular scenario. It is like knowing the right answer in grade school and assigning yourself a gold star in your mind’s eye.
However, what happens next?
After you congratulate yourself, do you move on to the next thing to observe and label? Alternatively, will you file your observations inside your head, keeping your thoughts to yourself? Consider that either type of passive actions occur when taking action is perceived as risky. Ultimately, you want to avoid being judged. (By the individual you just labeled?)
Assigning professional labels to people, behaviors, and processes creates barriers to successful cross functional collaboration.
You and I are taught lots of collaborative methods and techniques. You and I hire people because of how their personalities test and how they solve problems. Each of these processes affixes names, or labels, to people. And those labels tend to stick, whether merited or not, moving forward.
Because once a person is professionally labeled – by you and by others – you consciously or unconsciously restrict their current and future collaborative role. Subsequently, you influence others to perceive that person as their professional label, rather than as their professional potential. Consequently, your actions influence – and are influenced by – the culture in which you collaborate to solve problems.
Cross functionally collaborative teams are a professional development gift when you avoid assigning professional labels, Instead, honor how people take action and contribute in less linearly driven cultural environments. This week, pay attention to when you tend to label and react, rather than take action and contribute. Are you ready to move forward professionally?
Cross functional collaborative environments challenge everyone in some manner. When you provide the breathing room to arrive at unlabeled epiphanies, you ask the right questions, the right way, so you define and solve the right problems. Because you are more interested in creating enduring and innovative outcomes together than you are labeling people and processes. What choice will you make?
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Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset™ programs catalyze people who solve problems differently to collaborate more successfully across business, HR, and operations value silos. Become more professionally visible, cross-functionally relevant, and strategically valuable as you create and implement innovative and robust business outcomes together. Babette is a business-oriented STEM professional, qualitative Voice of the Customer facilitator, PMI-certified Wicked Problem Solver, Duke Corporate Education licensed Strategic Agility practitioner, and Six Sigma Green Belt (Quality). Babette is a member of the ASQ, SHRM, PMI, the National Speakers Association (NSA). Her playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available in soft cover and digital formats on Amazon.com. Contact Babette here. Image source: Adobe Stock.