Hot Topic Friday: July 19

Friday Newsletter Personal leadership



Happy Friday! Here are my July 19 Hot Topics and how they relate to advancing leadership or culture.

Hot Topic 1: Is Your Organization Adaptive or Maladaptive?

Source: Psychology Today. 

What It’s About: This article notes: “Healthy or ‘good’ adaptation might be exemplified by the person who appropriately adjusts his or her behavior to the requirements and expectations of a new supervisor in the workplace, or by the person who becomes physically disabled and develops new ways of coping and compensating for the loss of a completely healthy body.”  This idea can be connected to organizations as well. Healthy adaptation involves finding a way to move the organization forward. Difficulties arise when efforts to adapt serve to intensify a problem rather than to ease or resolve it. This may lead to what is known as maladapting. Organizations do this too. Grit, resilience and other well-intended values sometimes underscore very unhealthy behavior. 

Why It’s Important: Leaders want people to adapt. However, embracing new behavior and skills is fundamentally different than simply coping. Putting up with something is very different from truly adjusting and reskilling or upskilling. As the article concludes: “Rather than maladapting by adjusting, tolerating, or enduring unacceptable circumstances or conditions, healthy adapting is sometimes best achieved by changing something.” Make adaptation a healthy, forward process rather than a coping mechanism. 

Hot Topic 2: Boeing’s Dangerous Culture Challenge. 

Source: The New York Times

What It’s About: I appreciate Boeing builds complex aircraft. And we should all be grateful for what they’ve done to make the world more accessible to those of us that ride their product. Still, something is fundamentally wrong with their culture and leadership. For example, Boeing’s first public statements after the crash of the Indonesian 737 Max 8, supported by the F.A.A., questioned the abilities of the pilots, even though subsequent reporting has shown that pilots were not given the information they needed to properly react to the aircraft’s unexpected descents. Only after the crash of the second Max 8 in Ethiopia, did Boeing acknowledge that software in the planes’ cockpits played a major role in both accidents. This article points out that Boeing has repeated this pattern of deflection and avoidance. Have they really learned how to constructively manage situations like this based on self-accountability. Do they really care about the tragic impact to people everywhere? Or do their lawyers, risk managers, and spin doctors lead the way with the primary objective of protecting Boeing at the expense of the greater good? 

Why It’s Important: It is unreasonable to expect perfection in machines, people and process. And in highly complex machines like aircraft, the reality is that there are so many parts, we should expect reasonable (not perfect) outcomes. Ideally of course, defects are not fatal. What we should be able to expect 100 percent of the time is transparency, honesty and integrity from Boeing’s leadership. Do not spin to minimize exposure. You owe it to your customers, employees and shareholders to be brutally honest and commit to learning fast. The first response should be what you’re doing about resolving the situation rather than blaming others. Beyond the loss of precious life, Boeing’s performance on this matter has squandered hundreds of millions of dollars in shareholder value. What worries me even more is that some group of experts knew about the flaws and found it too difficult to speak up or be heard! Why is that? What about the Boeing culture prevents fatal flaws getting addressed up stream? Something is missing. It starts at the top. 

My Weekly Wine Recommendation (Thanks to Vivino):

Verdon Estate Reserve No. 3 Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford 2014. 

[Picture and ratings provided by Vivino.]

And finally! Here’s Cecil’s Bleat of the Week!

“You are not alone. Just because you feel like s*it, doesn’t mean you are s*it.”Jerry Colonna

Bye for now!

– Lorne Rubis

Incase you Missed It:

Monday’s Lead In podcast.

Tuesday’s blog.

Season 3 of Culture Cast

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