I have seen in myself (and in others) a tendency to overlook people. I often think of my business as an engine that can be tuned and modified. I forget that performance happens through people, not processes. The best process in the world doesn’t work when the people involved don’t feel engaged or interested. I have found in myself (and in others) a desire to ignore the complexity of situations, and propose simple, easy-to-implement solutions. My urge to take action — “don’t just stand there, do something!” — has me chase solutions based on what I can do, rather than what’s needed. I’m pretty handy at the computer, so I make project plans and track how far behind schedule we are — rather than addressing the reasons work isn’t getting done. I have noticed that I (and others) often propose solutions involving “them” before looking at “me”. It’s easy to talk at (not with) folks about how they can do better. And when the tables are turned, and someone tells me what I need to do, I usually nod and say, “you’re right, I’ll do better” without really meaning it — because that’s easier than pushing back and challenging my colleague to look at their own contribution. I often see myself (and others) attempt to predict the future, explain the past and above all else maintain the illusion that ‘I know what I’m doing’. If I admit I don’t trust my understanding of the past, or my ability to predict what’s next, people might begin to wonder just why the heck they keep me around here. Or worse, I (and others) might find there’s reason to fear being unmasked as an imposter. The net result is I (and others) can spend too much time thinking about systems, policies, rules and procedures to control the behavior of other people and ensure desired results. Time and time again, I (and others) find this approach to be insufficient. After all these years, what makes me (us) think that this time the same old solution will produce a different result? ___________ I have also seen in myself (and in others) a longing for connection, respect and trust. I find profound satisfaction in being part of something larger than myself. I have learned that I (and others) have the capacity to trust, include and listen to others — and 99 times out of 100, the results exceed our expectations. I have also found in myself (and in others) a recognition that the world in general, and people in particular, are dynamic, non-deterministic and chaotic. My efforts to control and explain are doomed — but that doesn’t mean I’m helpless. When I (and others) accept things are more complex than we’ll ever know, we can still find ways to get things done… we just have to ask more questions, listen more closely, and let other people help. I have seen in myself (and others) the power to choose to see myself as the cause, the source, the author of everything that goes on around me. This isn’t factually accurate, but it’s consistently useful. When I (and others) set blame aside and ask, ‘what’s my role in this… how am I responsible… what can I do to respond?’ things go much better. I have glimpsed in myself (and others) acceptance that our perception of the world is deeply limited. I can’t know what the future holds, and I’ll never really understand the past, but I (and others) can move forward with a bit of trust… of faith… and do the things that seem most-right right-now. The net result is I (and others) can spend our time to thinking about people and how we can connect with and serve them. Time and time again, I (and others) find this approach to be both effective and fulfilling. After all these years, what makes me (us) forget to put people at the center of our organizations and our lives?