Enthusiastic leadership teams have always been fluent in TrumpSpeak.
Re-structuring, new ways of working, or re-locations are described in glowing terms. Promises are made, everything is positive, the changes will be truly beneficial.
It’s understandable. Instinct might suggest that making as good a story as possible about what has to happen will encourage and motivate everyone to do what they have to do.
Yet real life experience suggests that exactly the opposite happens.
Where does the organisational habit of sugar-coating come from?
Is it protective? Or autocratic?
In T.S.Eliot’s line ‘Humankind cannot bear very much reality’ we hear a compassionate and pithy summary of human frailty: we distract ourselves to avoid painful emotional truths, or having to question ourselves, or from contemplating what is …real.
Yet I hear, in the work context, a very different aspect of the human condition come to the fore.
I hear a hunger for reality, for those that lead to conscientiously think through how it’s going to be, to face up to thoughtfully predicted difficulties as well as describing any opportunities.
The world of work, of seeking to get things done, of decisions, of different time frames of operation, of joint endeavor……..of professionalism…….is not the same arena as our individual explorations of the human condition.
When planning big changes in your organisation, it pays to describe things truthfully, to be realistic, and to treat everyone in a grown-up way.
Because in real life no –one knows – or can know – whether it’s going to be …great.
What might make the planned changes ‘great’?
Invite, by describing the landscape as realistically as possible, all effort and imagination to make things work.
Harness everyone’s talent, in a clear-sighted way, to identify and solve the tough stuff.
When it comes to change in the workplace, humankind prefers all the reality it can get.
Drop the Trump speak. Sad.