THE WILD, THE INNOCENT AND THE C-SUITE SHUFFLE: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN STYLE

Wild- adjective, something or someone that is untamed, uncontrolled or unrestrained

Innocent- adjective, not responsible for or directly involved yet suffering its consequences

Shuffle- adjective, a dance done every day and every night with no clear steps, just to get by

On my way in to work last week, I noticed that the highway was jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive. It made me wonder, why were they on this power drive? The power drive can loosely be interpreted as turf protecting, aka the accumulation of political “power” with an end goal of spending it on the perceived need for self-preservation.

The power drive is often symptomatic of the “C-Suite Shuffle” (ie, senior leadership or systems that are more concerned with “looking good” vs ensuring that roles, responsibilities and expectations are 100% crystal clear for all downstream stakeholders). The result may be a disconnect from middle management and the front-line job doers (the very people needed to deliver the desired results).

Lack of clarity about roles, responsibilities and expectations results in Confusion, Drama and Frustration or “CDF.” Once a culture is afflicted with CDF, it is very hard to de-toxify. It can lead to circumstances that cause some people to do something Wild. This may be the long-term contributor who has been a great employee but has become so frustrated, one day they do their best “George Bailey” and exit in flames of glory.

Lack of clarity may also impact the Innocent super star and rising star employees who may feel they have not been “heard.” Weary from the drama of living with the power drive and being very marketable, they defect, further exacerbating Confusion, Drama and Frustration.

Fortunately, we have an excellent tool to keep us from walking into a Tenth Avenue Freezeout. And it works with every level applied to. It’s called Ownership: 5 Steps to breakdown Confusion, Drama and Frustration.

Step 1: Each Team has its own Mission - Vision and Values that drives its behaviors & code of conduct.  This is not the same as the organization’s MVV and applies to every Team from the C-Suite on down.

Step 2: Each Team’s leader, regardless of their title, is responsible for ensuring that roles, responsibilities and expectations are 100% crystal clear for all stakeholders.

Step 3:  Each Team’s leader is responsible for ensuring that any issues resulting from Group Dynamics are handled by confirming that Step 2 took place. Absent that, it’s a performance issue for the Group.

Step 4:  Each Team’s leader is responsible for ensuring that issues resulting from Interpersonal Dynamics are handled by confirming that Step 2 took place. Absent that, it’s a performance issue for them.

Step 5:  Each Team’s leader is responsible for ensuring that issues resulting from Individual Dynamics are handled by confirming that Step 2 took place. Absent that, it’s a performance issue for the person.

Good luck and let us know how it goes. You can send us a comment or even your favorite Bruce Springsteen song if you want to!