The world seems to be heading into a period of rapid change, pain and chaos. This is affecting every employee under our watch. Some of your people have gone dark, others are riddled with anxiety while some are literally hanging on by a thread. Under these conditions people tend to make mistakes, errors and are likely to misjudge risk. If we can see and understand their current state of mind it is possible to both help people who are suffering and stabilize our work cultures.
Here are 3 ways people are reacting, often silently, to the world we are witnessing?
1.The Inflated Fear Reaction:
These folks hunker down in the back of their office/caves and through a combination of mental paralysis/fog and hand ringing self doubt, will stall out on their work. This then will lead to a lack of transparency, collaboration and missed deadlines. What could have taken 5 weeks is now delayed by months and sometimes years. They tell themselves that somehow they are “solely liable” for their project and therefore need to make it bomb proof. In the animal kingdom it’s the picture of the fear drenched dog growling over its food bowl.
We can verify this trend as third party eye witnesses. We are seeing an increase of inflated fear in individuals resulting in folks not being able or willing to engage in change management. They seem to be irrationally opting out of organizational change, from PHD researchers to field staff, resulting in the needed reports and permits being grossly delayed and projects losing momentum.
2. Us Against Them:
When the world becomes unreliable some folks will gather a gang around them and then like the northern musk ox they will herd together facing outward in anticipation of the coming attack. This is the clear sign of the total loss of trust in systems and leadership… classic silos. They grunt together, “we will defend our department, district, crew or project to the death” while viewing all others as an external threat. This breakdown of trust leads to exaggerated mistakes, errors and the misjudgement of risk.
In the last six months we are witnessing an increase of the, “us against them” formation of packs of 3 to herds of 300+. These dysfunctional, irrational, destructive trends are popping up literally everywhere: families, educational institutions, churches and places of worship, industry and government.
3. The Distracted and Reckless:
How many root cause accidents and accounting errors can be attributed to the rattled thoughts of those who are spooked by geo-political and other global insecurities. Most jobs require a concentrated effort even if they are repetitive and mundane. Employees who entertain “dark thoughts” that hamster wheel in their brains will have a reduced grip on their task at hand. From a reckless point of view the current threats to global security and safety acts like a solvent in these folks’ brains causing them to care less for themselves and others. One dominant thought spinning in their brains is, “why care if we are all going to die.”
From CEO’s to forklift operators we are seeing an increase of both distracted and reckless thinking.
If it is predictable it’s preventable. Let’s get ahead of this trend and shine a light into the dark. In case you were not aware, shining a light and offering a way out of these organizational/employee trends is Switchback’s specialty.
1. Reducing employee mistakes and errors.
2. Establishing a culture of healthy risk analysis and expectations.
3. Increased resilience while decreasing irrational fear, self protection and distractions.
Let’s get to work.