Ever hear the saying: “Doing the same thing but expecting different results is the definition of insanity”? (Sorry, don’t know who to credit with the saying but they may have worked in government.)
Seems pretty obvious, yet we all fall victim to doing the same thing and expecting something different in one way or the other. You are thinking.. “Nope, not me. I never do that”. OK, just stay with me for a second….
It can be very obvious in simple situations for all of us to realize that action A did not fix the problem, so try action B. Especially if it is dealing with “things”. Example: I try to open the door. It doesn’t open. I don’t continue to keep turning the door handle – I go get a key.
The world is not just made up of objects, it is made up of people – people relating to people. Thus, the world is anything but simple. Relationships are complex and riddled with interactions that play out differently. Even at work this is true. At work, we talk about processes, but we forget processes are made up of multiple people each working their piece of the puzzle – and the effect of one ripple cannot be seen nor accounted for in its effect on the whole. Yet, we continue to act the same, communicate the same, and think the same – and still expect different results. Hmmmmm.
Here are some things to ponder….
- Frustrated that your team is not communicating? What changes in your communication style would drive change?
- Not seeing engagement in your meetings? What could you change in your meetings to get different results?
- Problems getting sustainable/repeatable performance? Maybe the initiatives are only driving short-term spikes, and the underlying foundation isn’t getting better.
- Don’t have enough time in your day to get real stuff done? List three things you could refocus (redefine) that would eliminate disruptions.
- Feel no one is listening to you? What about how you present your concerns or ideas that needs changing so others understand better, so they will want to listen?
- Working hard but not seeing any improvement? What should you re-prioritize to ensure real improvements are focused on?
- Not getting the answers you need? Have you tried asking your questions differently? Or even just asking different questions?
- Have the feeling you are beating your head against the wall? What are you doing to take down the wall? That or go find a pillow.
- Dealing with the same fire more than once? What specifically have you changed to ensure the fire doesn’t come back?
- Stymied why there is one person that never answers your emails? What other means of communication can you use to get the timely response you require?
Take time to ponder what part you play in the things that frustrate you – maybe a change on your side will drive ripples of improvement. At least you won’t be doing the same thing and expecting something different.
I would be interested hearing what frustrations you have had in driving improvements in your work areas.