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Corporate Knows Best?

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J: Welcome to Slingshot25’s Shotcast, a series of bite-sized podcasts that will feel like an espresso shot to your brain. I’m Jackie. 

C: I’m Courtney. 

J: Something we’ve been thinking about is fiascos. 

C: Oh, and reading about. 

J: Reading about fiascos. There have been a lot of fiascos in the news lately from some very high-profile, very large companies that shall not be named on the ShotCast. And we won’t name them because we don’t need to comment directly on the particular fiascos of these organizations. And they are organizations, plural. This happens, right? We know this. We read the news.  Things don’t always go as planned. So we’re not going to comment directly on any of the cases in the news because, frankly, there’s always more complexity behind the headlines and, you know, we don’t have all that context, so we’ll just stay out of that. 

J: However, we do notice that there is a pattern, a trend, if you will, that has some very practical applications. And that’s what we talk about here on this ShotCast. We talk about… 

C: I can hardly wait, keeping 

J: Keeping it real. 

C: Keeping it real. 

J: So, the practical application aspect of these is the challenge of getting work done in really large, complex organizations…or they don’t have to be large; actually, it doesn’t have to be large to be complex. So, in these really complex organizations, often, it means that you’re having to deal with top-down ‘corporate knows best’ cultures. 

C: Yeah. Say that again, slower. 

J: I almost don’t want to, because it just really brings the room down. 

C: Really? I’ll say it with delightfully fun energy. Corporate knows best. 

J: Aha, yes. Ah, these top-down corporate knows best cultures. And we’ve been thinking about what do we do with that? Because there’s a lot of people who are working in those kinds of places, Courtney. 

C: Yes, there are. And it’s tough to navigate, right? It’s hard to know where you fit, how you get work done. And so we have a few tips, I guess, of how do you bring meaning to your work in an environment where you don’t get to make all the decisions. Sometimes decisions even take a long time, everything isn’t defined. The first kind of tip, I guess, would be whatever you’re working on, whatever your structures are, whatever your constraints are, and let’s face it, regardless of where you’re working, if you’re working at all…you’re facing some constraints.

C: So our first tip is to be a human in it. 

J: I love that. 

C: Just be a human in it. Figure out how to connect with people. How do you take each opportunity you have in day that you have to let someone else feel valued and cared about? Like, I don’t care what your org structure is, who your boss is, what your task list is, if every single person came in and said, I’m going to be a human in this, and connect to someone else and help them feel valued and cared about, it can feel better for you. Wow. It’s fun when you get to do that and obviously nice for the person that you’re reaching out to help. That’s the first one. 

C: The second one is figure out how to put your work in the world. As human beings, we have a hard wired, need to make a difference and add value. So figure out what your world is. Your world does not have to be the whole company, the whole enterprise, the whole department. Define your world. Who are your customers? Who are your, where are your products? Who’s your team? Define your world and make a difference in that. 

J: Yeah, I love that. So a couple of really great tips of just be a human. Just be a human in that environment. We can’t always control these really large, complex organizations. They’re going to do what they’re going to do. And if you work in one of those places, just find a way to be human in that and get your work into the world every day.

J: I’d like to add to that, if I can, Courtney, a tip for those who sit in those corporate roles because we are not here to suggest that those are malicious people sitting in those roles. As a matter of fact, we’ve been in those roles. I spent, I think probably most of my career in one of those roles. And so I’d like to share with you a way I thought about being in sort of this corporate position. And that is to remember that your organization is too complex for you to just sit at your desk and run it and add programming or add value just from your desk. That’s what we say is like running the organization by remote control.

It’s, it’s way too complex to do that. Your job, and here’s the tip, is to figure out who your friends are. Get friends, I’m going to say it this way, like get friends in the factory. Maybe you don’t work in a place that has factories. Maybe it’s just more service oriented, but get friends on the front line of where that service is happening. If they’re building product or if they’re serving customers, get to know those people. Look at your calendar. Who are you meeting with? Who do you know? How do you get information about what’s really happening in your organization so that you don’t drift? Because it’s easy to drift when you’re sitting in a removed role from the frontline of your organization. So you have to be really deliberate about that. 

C: Yeah, I love that. And it’s a choice every day. So here’s probably the last tip or advice, whatever your job is: simple organization, complex organization, tough day, bad day, whatever. When we do our coaching, we spend almost every coaching conversation coming back to a theme: Stay in peace, leave in joy. But there’s no third option. So if you are working in one of these organizations and it is tough and you’re struggling, it is your choice to stay there and find joy in it. Make a difference. Find people to help and find goodness there. And if you can’t, then find a way to leave in peace. 

J: That’s right. I love that. It was Cy Wakeman who said that. 

C: I almost said that, but then I didn’t want to get it wrong on the radio. 

J: It was Cy Wakeman. And I think it’s a really great way to close this episode, which is to remember that you always have a choice. You always have a choice. Stay in joy. Leave in peace. No third option.

All right. That’s all we have for now. But we always have much more to say. If you want more, drop us a line at Slingshot25. com. Until next time.

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