What prevents your team from making a quantum leap?
The American psychotherapist Irvin Yalom wrote: “It is axiomatic that if a group actively avoids some major issue, then no other issue will be addressed effectively.”
Probably everyone has observed something similar in friends and relatives, or even experienced it in their own family. A serious problem that no one discusses doesn’t go away on its own. Like a toxic fog, it poisons the atmosphere, making family members nervous, irritated and suffering for no reason. Adults begin to have difficulties at work, or health deteriorates. Children stop doing well in school and become withdrawn. Even pets behave inadequately.
In this sense, a sports team, military unit, scientific team or business organization is no different from the group mentioned by Yalom. Participants cease to fulfill the function for which they have gathered.
In organizations, the main difficulty is that although the consequences of the central problem are clearly felt by the participants, no one can articulate it precisely. One is frankly afraid, another does not want to rock the boat, the third is tired of fighting and has given up. If the leader of the group is not open and does not encourage the search for a bottle neck, the root problem of this group becomes chronic.
It will take time and an external shock to one day bring the organization to a bifurcation point, when both its demise and a quantum leap to another level become equally probable. The sharp aggravation of the problem will force management to take unconventional actions. In the throes of a new type of self-organization will be born — more complex, flexible and adaptive.
Wise executives do not wait for the acute phase, but voluntarily initiate regular self-diagnostics of the company. They know that any business is a consistent debottlenecking. And more often than not, the problem in today’s organizations is not a lack of finance, customers or technology, but a systemic error within their group “software.”
In that sense, the CEO’s job is to ensure that every top manager at any given time can give the same answer to the question, “What is the central problem we are currently solving?” This automatically forces the group to answer the question, “What is the central problem we are avoiding discussing?”
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As a business therapist, I help tech founders quickly solve dilemmas at the intersection of business and personality, and boost company value as a result.