Do you have a boy king in your life? I do. He knows what to do even before he knows how to do what he wants. He’s confident he can do anything not asking for help from his sister, parents or teachers. He goes off and creates things to show us, taking an inordinate amount of time to wrap it up and put a bow on it before showing us his creation. He makes decisions based on his imagining himself doing and understanding instead of actual experience. It’s probably natural for a seven year old. Even so, it’s difficult to witness as he could make his life so much easier by simply asking for help, collaborating and reaching out to others.
Who am I kidding. The same thing happens at work especially with the smart people. In the aerospace industry, there are a lot of smart people. Instead of working through problems together, we come up with creative solutions and polish them while the problems fester and spin into other interrelated issues. In a collection of smart people with egos the size of our mortgage payments, we get in our own way. Instead of enabling a learning environment, we perpetuate dysfunction calling it “making sure everything is correct.” And herein lies the true cost of our hubris. We sacrifice profits, effectiveness and efficiency for our particular view point or process of getting things done. We limit not only our own learning but the people we work with as well as the organization itself. This is negative feedback preventing the business system from true success. Even if our organization is profitable and meeting customer expectations for the most part, our inhibition of learning reduces our potential as an organization and severely limits the capacity for meaning our organizations may provide for employees. It also limits autonomy and castrates employee purpose. In short, inhibiting learning and collaboration demotivates us all. Our short sighted focus on our way of doing things is self limiting just like the little boy king I have at home.
And herein lies the cost of my own hubris. My son is simply reflecting my own way of doing things and providing me an opportunity to change. Perhaps with time, I too can provide the leadership for my son to move past the hubris of being the boy king. To do so, I’m attempting to learn from other parents in how to help the family grow and work with one another. I’m sharing my difficulties with the hopes of receiving feedback on how to enable my boy king to work with his sister, friends, teachers and parents. Tactically, I’m taking time from my pursuits and and personal focus to help him with a model rocket project. I’m sharing information, but letting him make mistakes. I’m helping him to determine why mistakes are made so he can enable himself to learn and ask future questions prior to heading down that wrong road again. In short, I’m working with him, not over or against him. Instead of being a parent, I’m attempting to be a friend. By friend, I mean someone willing to let go of my own arrogance and righteousness so we can grow together. A friend tells it like it is even if it may hurt. A friend lets you know that may not be a good idea but lets you make a fool of yourself nonetheless and laughs with you afterward. A friend lets down their guard so connections may be made, worked and strengthened. I wonder what would happen if we did this in our organizations. I wonder what would happen if we took the same approach in our daily interactions with others.
Managing ourselves and our interactions to achieve something we could not do on our own is just another principle of managing the biz of you. We enable our families, friends and jobs to improve by managing our biz. Sometimes we have to let go of our need to be right, the parent or the savior to work through our issues together at home or work. We need to listen and respect the king or queen within while sitting down with our inner monarch and explaining the need to listen first and extend trust to those in our lives. There are more ways to achieve our desired states than our hubris will ever see. Instead of letting our inner king or queen run our lives, we need to become their friend and advisor. Befriending our inner monarch creates an inner democracy of sorts preventing needless suffering caused by our arrogant assumptions and unnecessary conflicts in our outer lives. We have to create checks and balances to our inborn biases and cognitive illusions. This allows us to retain the confidence of our monarch while being open to solutions we would never come up with on our own. As we develop the habit of inner council of our monarch, we enable ourselves to be more effective and efficient reducing the costs of the consequences of our actions. In essence, we mature the processes in our lives befriending our boy king or girl queen and setting up our inner democracy.
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