Just Ignore Problems and They Will Fix Themselves (wrong!).

Practice 'Safe' Safe

Practice ‘Safe’ Safe

This was a real live emergency! My passport was locked in a wall safe in Portugal. We were flying home at 17:00. It was 11:28 and the door of the safe wouldn’t budge. I use the same stupid ‘4-numbers’ for every single password so it definitely wasn’t a case of forgetting the code. 4 hours, 1 Locksmith and a ton of euro later, the problem was solved and the world could continue. We barely caught the flight. Phew. Days earlier I knew that the battery in the safe was making a ‘funny noise’ but decided to completely ignore it on the basis that it would more-than-likely rectify itself! That’s always a good strategy, right? It had been that sort of week.

WHAT did you say? Earlier in the week I also knew I had a hearing problem having to carefully watch my wife’s lips as she spoke to figure out what she was on about. I know I’m not getting any younger, but Jesus this was a bit much. It was like practicing for being really old. Eventually, after 12 months of cajoling by Linda (and with the kids point blank refusing to repeat the same sentence over and over again), I went to the doctor and had my ears syringed twice (it didn’t work the first time). It’s unbelievable now – everything sounds brilliant. I can ‘wax lyrical’ about it. The doctor told me to shampoo my ears on a regular basis, so I even have something new to play with in the shower.

Management Signals: Just like those ‘battery beeps’ and my ‘Army deafness’ moment, managers get signals all the time that things are going South. Someone starts underperforming or drinking at lunchtime or being cranky with customers. An account that you’ve had for years goes to a competitor. Your computer system starts to become temperamental. And, what do most of us do? We ignore it. Outwardly, because we are ‘busy’ (get with the programme, we’re always busy). Most often we ignore signals because is causes dissonance. In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress (discomfort) experienced when you hold two or more contradictory beliefs/ideas at the same time or when you are confronted by new information that conflicts with something you already believe. We want an ‘easy life’. We want things to be ‘turbulent free’. We don’t want to tackle underperformance, fraud or infidelity. In his book, This is my Life, Innocent Mwatsikesimbe  suggests that: “Idleness is seductive. Just relax and do nothing, it says.” But this isn’t about being lazy. This is active avoidance because we don’t want to find out the truth and we don’t want to confront it. We all know the proverb that a ‘stitch in time saves nine’. Listen out for things that ‘sound or seem wrong’. And do something about it before small tears become rips in the fabric of your life.

Hey, here’s my new motto. Practice safe Safe! Consider yourself warned!


PS Awful Moment of the Week: One of my clients is a woman in Cork who works for a large pharmaceutical company. She works hard and is more than normally smart. While successful, she battles the guilt that all working mothers (and even some fathers) feel about leaving the kids at home. Recently her daughter seemed a bit down and she asked her what was wrong?  Turns out that the girls in her daughters class had suggested that her mother was actually dead (because she never attended any school events). Sometimes, it’s hard to win and feel good about yourself.

Lighter Note (courtesy of Larry McGivern) – you’d need something light after that story…

Andrew the drover (Aussie Cowboy) was from a huge cattle station in the Australian outback. He appeared before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

 “Have you ever done anything of particular merit?” St Peter asked.

 “Well, I can think of one thing” the drover offered.

 “Once, on a trip to the back blocks of Broken Hill in New South Wales, I came across a gang of bikers who were threatening a young Sheila. I told them to leave her alone, but they wouldn’t listen”.

“So I approached the largest and most heavily tattooed biker, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring, and threw it on the ground. I yelled, “Now, back off!! Or I’ll kick the shit out of the lot of ya!”

 St Peter was impressed, “When did this happen?”

 “About 3 minutes ago.”

Have you another 2 minutes to spare before the madness kicks off? Have a look at the following ‘Luas Drivers’ clip sent in by the irrepressible Tim O’Neill.

Check our website http://www.tandemconsulting.ie or call 087 2439019 for an informal discussion about executive or organization development.


About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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