Archive for December, 2009

Sounds of Silence

The article starts out with a great story about a naked CEO and no one has the guts to ask him why he is naked.  Instead some of them compliment him and others talk about him behind his back.  This is a great story to blatantly show us how companies turn out.  Everyone is turned off by their superiors and no one dares to speak up about it.  It shows us that even with something as ridiculous as the CEO being naked the problem at the workforce is that no one is willing to speak up about their superiors.  The question is, Why is this?

When people where interviewed they said that if they spoke up they would be faced with negative ramification.  The article calls this “organizational silence.”  This is not a good thing for any company.  This will put a huge obstruction on growth and could, and eventually will hurt the company.  This doesn’t allow for problems to be fixed or addressed properly and eventually they can cascade into larger ones.  The article has a very interesting illustration of the effects of this on companies.

This is very much like the “deans disease” where organizations get filled with people that will never go against the upper management.  Companies need people to challenge the things going on around them and need people that will disagree.  This silences, caused by who knows what, is what causes this kind of behavior.

The article talks about many reasons that can cause this “silence” in organizations.  There are ideas that it is because of the difference in management and the lower level employees.  There is also ideas that it is caused by the culture of the company and that they get the idea that the best thing for a company is unity in the company, no matter what the costs.  There is talk in the article about managers instill this feeling that they cannot trust lower-level employees.

The idea is to break free from this silence.  However, it is just as much the manager’s job as it is the employee’s job in order to do this.  They must work hard together to put a stop to this silence and encourage talk, both negative and positive.  The hardest part is being able to constructively give negative feedback but as long as both parties are looking in the best interest of the company in the end it will put a stop to the “organizational silence.”

To view article visit:

http://www.business.unr.edu/faculty/simmonsb/badm720/notes720.html and click on Organizational Silence

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Open-Comp, End of Season, and Looking Forward

Hey everyone, sorry for the long break, but the season is over and i am a little sad but I am looking forward to a new, up and coming season 🙂  The last race was the open-comp and I did very well for my first 200 lap race.  It was very interesting to say the least.  There was a great turnout for the race, I don’t know the exact numbers but I think there were 34 in the Super Late Model class.  They only were allowing 26 to start the main event for the $7,777 cash purse.  The competition was very stiff and people from all over the country, even Canada, showed up to claim the prize.  This was a new setup for us because instead of running the treaded tire, like all season, the class ran slicks.  This was a great experience for me and we adapted very quickly and well.

I qualified 18th which I was ok with but when I looked at the times and realized that I was less than 2 tenths off of first 18th wasn’t so bad 🙂 Friday night the heat races rolled by and as mine approached I was more and more excited.  I finished my heat race without incident in 2nd place locking myself into the main event for Saturday.  Friday night draws to a close as we nut and bolt the car for the big show on Saturday.  Saturday finally comes and the entire day it is one big anticipation for the big event!  I find out that I am starting in 18th position for the 200 lap event.  The race is finally here 🙂  We roll onto the track, do the parade and line up stuff for the crowd and the green flag drops.  My dad comes over the headset and tells me to come in!! My rear end is leaking fluid all over and they don’t want me to get black flagged.  I come racing into the pits and we decide to just not run the rear-end cooler to slow down the leak and on lap 100 we will get a closer look and see if we can fix it. (on lap 100 we get a ten minute pit-stop to change tires and fill gas)  I race back on the track but I am already three laps down 😦 The race goes on and I dodge some major pileups and in the end we end up scrapping together a 10th place finish 🙂  I am way excited and couldn’t be happier, considering the circumstances, about our finish.

The season draws to a close and I ended up finishing 11th overall in points.  This isn’t so bad considering I only could participate in half of the races due to budget constraints and some mid season motor failures.  The best part of the entire season, besides the fact that we learned a ton and enjoyed every minute of it, was that I received rookie of the year!!

It is winter time now and we are already chomping at the bit about next season.  The car is being tore to the ground to be properly rebuilt for next season.  Right now I am looking hard for sponsors for next season and looking at all of our options for what series and cars to run for next year.

Most importantly I would like to thank my sponsors from this year because without them none of this would have happened!!

Stay tuned as next year approaches with new and exciting adventures.

Changing Others Through Changing Ourselves: The Transformation of Human Systems

Change is not a word most people like to hear, nor are most people willing to admit they are the ones that need to change.  A key to change in others is by changing yourself first.  It just makes common since that in order to ask someone to change without being willing to change oneself first is blasphemy.  A true leader grasps this concept and runs with it.

This article hits the nail dead on the head in showing that change has to come from all avenues to make an impact.  The article talks about the Advanced Change Theory (ACT).  This practice involves change in both the leaders and the followers.  Instead of changing the system in which people are acting in this ACT calls for change in the human.  This is not to say that systems do not drive behaviors because the system is the main cause of behavior.  Instead this takes it a step further than the system and demands change of the people in the system.

Executives get stuck in the mindset that they need to change all the people under them.  They spend thousands of dollars each year going to seminars and clinics in how to change their own workers.  More than often during these seminars there is never talk about changing themselves and looking at what they are doing and how that drives the behaviors of the followers.

ACT demands more out of the leader than any other theory of change.  It requires the leader to achieve a high level of self conduct.    In other change practices people are told to change and most of the time they have no clue as to why they are supposed to change.  If they do not understand the question, why, then how can a leader reasonable ask them to make the changes necessary for change, most often very agonizing change?

The focus of ACT is to develop a new concern for the system and not the self.  This demands that the leader make an adjustment from their own self interest and to focus their interest on the system and the relationship of the followers with the system.  The article talks about many examples of leaders leading in this kind of matter.  It uses Gandhi, Jesus, and Martin Luther King Jr. as its main examples of leaders that lead in this selfless manner.  The main idea is “that their behaviors were consistent with their beliefs.”  This is the hardest thing for leaders to accomplish, but when it is accomplished there is no limit as to what can be accomplished.

Leaders need to always be aware of their surroundings.  They must be willing to make changes to their own viewpoint in light of new situations that may require a different approach.  Leaders need to be flexible.  The article makes another very great point in that once a person knows and practices their own personal values then they are not chained down by external forces and this will open up many new possibilities.  “A new vision for the common good can emerge.”  The three people mentioned earlier understood this to the most extreme extent and practiced it, two of which gave their life for it.

A great quality that Gandhi, Jesus, and Martin Luther King Jr. had in common was their understanding of leading by example.  They understood that if people see the leader acting in a way to better the common good, their followers will be more willing to follow suit.  Leaders need to build trust in their followers instead of trying to control them.  If you trust the people under you, much more can be accomplished.  The leaders need to keep in mind to never ask more of their followers than they are asking of themselves.  In the same manner leaders need to learn how to push the followers beyond their own expectations and they can in turn achieve their maximum potential.

The main point to bring home is to change YOURSELF before you try to change others!!

To view article visit:

http://www.business.unr.edu/faculty/simmonsb/badm720/notes720.html and click on Article on ACT change