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The Stamp

Organisations are filled with egos. Filled with people strutting around with a self-important grandeur about them, as if they are covered in Teflon and they don’t need to be right in their decisions, they just need their decisions to be ‘right now!’ There are times when navigating these egos can be an absolute nightmare; however, we endure, right? After all, what can be done about all these individuals feeling the need to mark their territory?

But have you every thought that maybe all is not what it seems here? Maybe things are a little deeper than that...

Now, any individual entering a new arena wants to make an impression. They may come across as brash, uncaring, cocky, and bullish in their mentality and demeanour. They may think that their way is the only way, they may believe that they are more than they actually are.

If someone wants to make an impression, it is usually out of a deficit that exists in them somewhere. The person might decide to make changes without consultation; make decisions without ascertaining the full scope of a problem, or the actual functions and processes of the organisation. Sometimes, you might see a deep desire to please, to be compliant because someone above you tells you that it will make you good at what you do, make you better. Who doesn’t want affirmation that they are better? But affirmation is not required for a leader of people. The greatest leaders do not do what they do for affirmation, they do it because they have a strong sense of who they are and what is right. They do not waver from what they hold to be true, even if forces around them conspire to shift them from there station. Leaders make people gravitate around them because they hold a magnetic force that leans toward people’s desire to be good, and better in themselves, but not through the affirmation of others.

When we talk about managers trying to push their staff to get things done, always seemingly desperate to keep the boat afloat, what we are seeing is an organisation that has employed managers and not leaders. Managers want to come in and bring quick change, they want to put a stamp on everything they do as a cattle rancher brands the cattle, while simultaneously fighting for land on the office plains to rear them. The only reason that people want to stamp everything is that they fear that things might be taken away from them. The insecurity is what drives this action. It is only when you stamp enough things that you begin to believe that you are safe enough not to lose, that the ego steps in and you truly start to believe that you are more than you are.

This is dangerous territory for a business: the jeopardy lies in managers and senior leaders looking to impress simply by creating a multitude of ‘stamp’ moments; a highlight reel that can be shown at a drop of a hat for those onlookers who only require a visual snapshot of the workings of that area. The snapshot is never the whole picture, it is merely a corner of a wider canvas that covers numerous other factors. Ideas are great, don’t get me wrong, but if ideas are left for others to implement, then you have not really done anything. All you have done is pushed work to someone else to tick a box that might not really need ticking at all. Lead by stripping away the unnecessary, seeing genuine priority and focussing energy and resource to making those things happen. You may not get affirmation in the immediate, but you will certainly get respect when you are proven right at the end.

On many occasions, in our daily lives, we carry things which need not be carried. Remove the unnecessary and you are left with only that which is necessary and, when you do that, you see how heavily the scales are weighted with unnecessary items. Businesses are similar in how they approach strategic goals and priorities. We see how large companies move to build in complex strategies thinking that as exponential growth occurs, exponential growth must be maintained. Really, a period of consolidation can prove more beneficial to lock in quality, prior to further growth.

At the coal face, we see areas/departments being disconnected from the larger priorities of the organisation. You couple that with managers that are eager to please and not willing to really question and push back the other way, and what you get is a recipe, not for exponential growth, but rather, for sudden implosion.

Communication channels are only effective if what is fed down those channels doesn’t get stuck on route. The way to manage this is to keep the messages clear and consistent and keep the focus tight. If you ask everything from everyone, you will either get a lot of things executed with mistakes, with staff riding by the seat of their pants ad infinitum, or you get people going off sick because the demands are too much, which then leads to an overstretched workforce, decreased output, and shoddy work.

It is interesting to note how so many of us make things so complicated, when they need not be. It is also the simplest thinkers that are lambasted for their desire to cut through the mire and perplexity of modern life. A man hits the age of 122 in some remote village in the middle of nowhere and we wonder how? It’s easy to answer--he simplified his life. The same can be done with organisations.

Stop stamping and start streamlining your work and priorities, so what you do, you do well, and, what you communicate, rolls out to every single person in your organisation.

The result… 1) Clarification and restatement not required 2) Processes are more efficient 3) Priorities executed to high quality levels 4) Happier and content staff who understand their place within the organisation and their role in its continuing growth and success It's time to stamp out 'The Stamp'!

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