How many times have you walked away from that meeting intended to gather opinions knowing full well that nothing you said would get accounted for in the end? You try to push aside the deep understanding that you spent an hour sharing insights that will not be looked at again.
It creates that “why bother asking me” emotion.
It’s not that the insights are totally discounted, but after several experiences across organisations of being in meetings with staff, and then being in meetings with senior directors, it was difficult to recognise the same content because it had been streamlined, massaged, and bullet pointed to a level where the original perspectives were lost.
…and thus the iceberg of ignorance continues to grow.
While problems are less known the higher we get up the hierarchy, the problems that are recognised across the organisation are so misunderstood from an organisational needs perspective that “solutions” easily become a quagmire welcomed by no one and serve as a massive distraction from the organisational needs in the first place.
An easy reaction is “let’s just kill hierarchies!” While some organisations could possibly benefit from that, I have an idea that every organisation could adopt. Let’s empower each human in the system to be a contributor to learning in the organisation. You could call that flattening hierarchy, but honestly, this is not about roles and functions. This empowerment is about each individual having a voice on what is working and what is not working.
Future posts will explore the next two aspects that give voice to the individual and positive change for the organisation.
- Experimentation is an essential method for breaking the success bias that prevents true organisational learning.
- Sharing and reflection is a necessary link from experiment to positive change – without sharing, we cannot apply what was learned or maximise the impact of the learning.
Giving all individual contributors purpose requires us to create a process that allows change while not breaking the framework.