Friday, April 25, 2008

What's Wrong?

The executive held an annual retreat in which he and his staff went over one question:

"What are we doing wrong?"

It was always the most productive meeting of the year. People would enter the conference room, grab a pastry and coffee, and expect to hear the problems they'd been grinding their teeth over but invariably they would be surprised by new demons. In many cases, when multiple problems were discussed, a problem created by their combination would emerge. They had "just in time" problems that could be quickly and inadvertently assembled from a variety of sources and others that were disguised by other, more obvious, problems.

Far from being demoralized, the staff was invigorated by such revelations and especially by the action plans that ensued. The retreat ended with an acknowledgement of what was being done right - no use ignoring that - and yet as people walked away you could hear the relief, and in many cases, excitement, that accompanies improvement.

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