After over 35 years of consulting inside of businesses large and small, I keep hearing the same kinds of conversations. The conversations are nearly all the same in every company, only the names are different. It goes something like this:
“Paul is driving me crazy. He is just not being cooperative. And he is definitely not a team player. I’ve tried everything and I just can’t deal with him any more. It’s definitely a personality clash; we are just too different to work together. I think we need to make a change.”
I am certain you have heard similar types of conversations. And the problem is, 9 times out of 10 it’s the wrong conversation!
By wrong, I mean it is not productive, rarely solves anything, actually makes people more resistant to each other, builds walls, sours the culture and just plain misses the point all together.
And what is the point? We need to shift (aka reframe) the conversation from Personalities to Root Cause.
My experience with these types of issues is that people problems are rarely the result of problem people. If you shift the focus and the conversation onto Root Cause, in a very short order you will find that there is either a broken, ill-defined, undefined, or redundant process at work that is causing frustration and difficulties between people. What looks like a personality clash is actually a result of poor processes.
Paul isn’t being obtuse or difficult or not a team player, he’s just trying to do the best job within his functional responsibilities in dealing with a poorly defined process. In many cases personality clashes are the result of two people each thinking that they have the sole responsibility; in other words, duplication of effort caused by poorly mapped or non-existant business processes.
So, want to make rapid progress? Change the conversation from Personalities to Root Cause. And if you don’t know how to investigate a root cause or do process mapping either hire someone who does or be content to enjoy the endless people complaints around the water cooler.
Tight Lines . . .
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