My book clubs this week talked about the 5 Temptations of A CEO, and Covey's 8th Habit. It was a terrific set of discussions with people from all over the US. One person noted that these discussions (each with about 10-12 people on the phone) refreshed her because she was reminded of what terrific people are in our field.
The other thing that this month's conversations reminded of yet again is how much time managers spend and frustration they with two things- enforcing the rules fairly and consistently, and engaging groups in vibrant, and yet not personal discussion and positive argument.
Pretty much everthing we read, including books like Good to Great emphasize the need for constructive discourse to make the organization better. And all you have to do is watch people for a week and you know that the thing they resent the most are issues around "fairness", so if managers treat them differently than others, it hits a hot button.
And yet we still struggle with these two gordian knots of management, trying to find the right balance between being sensitive to individual needs and not having any rules at all. Trying to craft a group of people into a set of seekers--trying to make the organization better while suppressing their ego, so that group discussions that may well dis their area of responsibility aren't taken personally and are seen as positive to the organization.
I wish I had a solution, but I know it's just a relentless discipline of careful thought, trying to do the right thing all the time, and thinking on our feet. And we'll get it right more than we get it wrong, but we won't always get it right.
Oh, yeah. We're human.
Which, of course, is what makes it so much fun.