I learn a lot from my grandkids about life, love and leadership. All four are coming over today to swim and play and grill burgers. They range in age from 8 yrs. to 2 yrs. and are all distinctly different. Samuel (8 yrs. old) is rational, neat, a linear thinker and very friendly. He is also very athletic, taking athletics seriously, including the rules and regulations. Caleb,who will be six in a few weeks, is a “right-brained” thinker. Very, very verbal, skipping though life, picking up frogs and bugs along the way. He is also very friendly. Sometimes he makes comments that are not of this planet. He hops and jumps with glee a lot. Anna will be five in a few weeks. She is full of personality. Being the only girl keeps her on her toes, while she keeps every else on their toes. She has changed outfits four or five times at my house in less than an hour. She dances, plays soccer and is quite funny. She is iron and lace personified. All of the boys in the family have been punched at least once by her as she guards her territory. Christian will be three in October. He is short, quiet and funny. He is pretty tenacious to prove that he can keep up with the others. Of the other three, he differs in that he can wander through life just quietly staring at people and closely examining their every move. (This is much like his daddy was.)
From each of them, I see examples of adult behaviors in my coaching business acted out every day. The rational and linear thinkers in business always seem to either have conflict with the right-brain thinkers or just “don’t get them.” The rational want to see it on a project timeline and the divergent thinkers want to enjoy the work and have a company party. Then, there are those who have to, or, think they have to, protect their turf. They are tenacious, sometimes combative and many times fight battles that don’t exist, except in their minds. Other business leaders just wander around watching and waiting. They are reactive not proactive. They can be helpful but never preemptive to avoid conflict or risk sharing a new idea. What works best when the grandkids, their parents and Nancy and I are all in the house together, is that each of us buffer our behaviors to co-exist. In essence, we all have to “dial it down” or “dial it up” to make the composite culture tolerable and workable. Wouldn’t it be cool if companies could make it work like families have to? It can only happen in organizations when:
1. There is an awareness that divergence is occurring.
2. There is a culture that celebrates diversity.
3. There are workshops, coaching and other affinity group work that address divergence.
4. Individuality is leveraged for the greater good of the organization.
Now, let’s swim and grill!!