Adorable Squashes Certainty!

Posted On: July 8, 2016 by: Doug Lundrigan

Can you name this carnivorous mammal?

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 12.58.23 PMSometimes we feel certain about our knowledge of things . . . until something new squashes our certainty.

This creature is the first new carnivorous mammal to be discovered in over 35 years – after we thought we had found and named them all. Native to Ecuador, the olinguito is a tree-dweller that likes to eat fruit and meat, weighs about two pounds, and is extremely adorable.

This rare discovery demonstrates, once again, that we humans don’t always know as much as we think we do.

What do you feel certain about? As leaders of people, feeling too sure of ourselves can be dangerous.

Like when we feel certain that the reason employees keep leaving our organization is that they are disloyal or unreliable or fickle. The reality may be that they leave because they have a bad boss. Maybe that’s you, or maybe it’s me.

Or it’s like when we think we always explain things clearly, yet employees keep getting it wrong. We feel certain the employees are a little thick-skulled or slow-minded, when it may actually turn out that we’re not as good at explaining things as we thought we were.

Or how about those micro-managers. When we hear people talking about them, that’s not you or me, right? We would never get into a stressful situation and find ourselves telling people exactly how to do each task, and watch them carefully to make sure they do it according to our specifications, right? Until we overhear an employee describing us that way.

The remedy? To paraphrase the father of modern continuous quality improvement, Edwards Deming: a system (or leader) can not see itself. The transformation requires an outside view.

A coach or consultant can help us see ourselves more clearly.

If you’re not getting the results you think you should, and you’re willing to question the things you feel certain about, congratulations! This is the first step toward discovery and enlightenment. Call me, I can help with the rest.

Doug Lundrigan

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