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  • Writer's pictureNancy Dering Mock

The Crucible

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

Have you noticed that human endeavor almost always starts with high expectations, and optimism? But, despite our good intentions and best efforts, things invariably don't work out the way we planned. Communications break down; results, fall short; costs, run over.

People are mumbling to themselves in the hall.

Clues to the causes may be found in the imperfections that exist in any human system. We work with humans, who are imperfect, in systems that are inherently flawed. And, in contemporary organizations, our fixation on perfecting the imperfectable and over-objectifying the subjective, we worship at the feet of fixing: sending more emails, upgrading computers, "doing" team-building and developing yet another new and improved performance evaluation. Fixing, fixing, fixing.

And still people are mumbling to themselves in the hall.

Consider how, ironically, the attempts at objectification, regulation and standardization bind leaders and contributors. Could it be that our zeal to make organizations perfect have wrung the very best of what it means to be human out of them? Could it be that we are yoked to standards, rules and regulations that actually stifle leaders in using common sense and discretion? Could it be that the Employee Manual, in reality, inhibits people from doing their best work? Could it be that in cultures of compliance, we have stultified the natural curiosity and creativity of people?

That's what we will explore here: How to instill spirit and meaning; restore connectedness and dignity; and elevate human greatness, giftedness and imagination. To restore the very best of what it means to be human to human enterprise.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. In your experience, have you observed organization that "wring the very best out of their people?"

  2. Why is it that leaders may be given less discretion rather than more?

  3. What would "restoring the very best of what it means to be human" look like?

  4. What are the implications for leaders? For you?

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