A Leader Reads [#100Days]

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Join me as I attempt to focus a leadership lens on some of the largest fantasy series.

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The Eye of the World - Chapter 25 [#100Days, Day 20]

Never Get Involved In A Land War With Asia

  Perrin, Egwene, and Elyas link up with a band of the Traveling People.  The Tinkers are extreme pacifists, a concept foreign even to the sheltered youths of the Two Rivers.  Perrin even tries to debate the differing ideals with Raen, their leader.  It's a laughable failure, leaving Perrin utterly frustrated.  He believes he is more right than the Tinkers, trying to explain that there are horrors in the world that simply destroy for the sake of destruction.  And without a force standing against them, the world of humanity would be overrun.  (At this point, I usually envision Jack Nicholson shouting "You want me on that  wall! You need me on that wall!)  Both Raen and Perrin dig into their positions, refusing to even acknowledge any of the other's points.

  Leading an organization through a significant change can create this brand of frustration.  There will always be a cohort (hopefully a small contingent) firmly in the "against" camp.  Usually (from what I've seen, at least) is these are typically people in upper middle management with a significant amount of tenure with the organization.  They will unite their division or department (or whatever group they are in charge of) against the direction the organization is trying to head.  I've got this exact headache as we speak.  My organization is trying to implement a new project management software, and a cadre of our engineering division is firmly against such a change.  Not only is the division lead against it, he and his second are actively countering against the move.  They are using positive information about the change and spinning it into propaganda against.  What are we doing about it?

  Well, the change is happening whether or not he's on-board with it, so there's no need to directly attack such an entrenched position.  Doing so can fracture the organization - people will feel they need to choose a side.  For all outward intents and purposes, it looks as though we are ignoring the threat.  Part of the counter-insurgency is winning the hearts and minds of some of his division.  We've sent another section to view the new software in action with a sister organization - that may be one of the winning tricks.  The ones we sent piled into my office raving about what they saw and are sharing that experience with the rest of the workforce.  The other critical portion is to develop a discrete road-map and start moving out on that plan.  Small, incremental changes attract less notice, are less inconvenient, and can be more easily related to the current process.  

  Another method, of manipulation in a way, is to ensure we, the leadership, keep our minds open.  The insurgent division lead does have some decent points and perhaps even some valid concerns.  By working those into our plans forward, we can appear acquiescent, but really it costs us nothing.  And active resistance, should it continue, will be dealt with via the HR department (i.e. progressive disciplinary actions).


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