CATCH 22

A team this week described what they were dealing with as…’a little craziness going on elsewhere in the business….and ever so slightly with themselves’.

The business’ current pre-occupation was – ‘behaviour change’.

By which was meant, roughly, reduce the patterns of power and control and increase trust and autonomy.  But it was the existing behaviours that had won so much business and brought in more clients – wasn’t it?  So what would seeking change actually say about any individual or team wanting things to be different?

You know where this is going.

Just for the joy of it, here’s the whole quote from Joseph Heller’s Catch 22:

‘There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

“That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” he observed.

“It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.’

So sometimes we really do have to think big, to check out the whole ethos of a business that might (unwittingly?) underpin – or catch – individuals or teams in impossible paradoxical situations. If you feel you’re in a Catch 22, and a ‘little crazy’, be assured there is a way through.

It involves some extraordinary conversations, some ‘re-labelling’ of what’s going on, and a long hard look at some of the assumptions washing around the business.

If it’s all driving you crazy, hang on to that old RD Laing thought, that

“…. insanity is a perfectly rational response to an insane world”.

There, you knew you were right.

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