Rock The Boat

You don’t have to be a sailor or even like the water to get my analogy here, I just love the concept.

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One of the major contributors to organizations not achieving their full growth and profit agendas is simply because many employees just continue to go along with policies, procedures, products and services that have lost their relevance in today’s world or for some reason they are no longer working. Having been an employee for several years prior to launching my speaking career years ago I can tell you there were times when I wanted to scream at management “you just don’t get it”, but I held back for fear of losing my job while I was raising three kids.

So from the beginning I get it – play it safe and as long as you don’t rock the boat your career or position is safe. Well, maybe yes and maybe no!

If an organization and I don’t care what type; a corporation, small business, association, government agency, church or school system is out of touch with reality sooner or later they will fail if you don’t take appropriate corrective action. This doesn’t always have to come from senior management staff. During my career having worked with hundreds of organizations around the globe I can tell you that more often than not there is more wisdom at the lower levels of the organization than at the top. Yes, there are exceptions but the question is – is your organization’s future in jeopardy because it is causing employees to keep quiet when they have better or more creative ideas or solutions or just better common sense when it comes to organizational performance and effectiveness?

If you are an employee reading this I am confident you are nodding – right-on – and if you are in senior management – if you are dismissing the rest of this article it may be because you are in denial and unwilling to face the simple fact that your management style or corporate culture may be counterproductive and directly or indirectly contributing to your current circumstances that are in some way contributing to the lack of growth or profitability.

Rock the boat – can have many meanings or applications and I would like to share just a few of the ways to do this, but I caution you – there may be times you might want to hold off depending on your particular circumstances and/or relationships. One of my favorite phrases that in many ways have been a guiding principle of my career (that sometimes worked and other times contributed to some increased career challenges) is – sometimes it’s better to apologize than ask permission.

Rock the boat simply means (from my perspective) deciding to go against conventional wisdom from time to time. Think about it – almost all discoveries or inventions were by people who refused to accept conventional wisdom – they didn’t just think outside the box – they kept using new boxes – they did not let what was believed based on previous knowledge or circumstances – prevent their trying something new, better, creative, unique or different.

Look at some of the most successful companies today, those that have endured for many years – I’ll wager that most of them had employees or a management philosophy that says – create, invent, question, challenge, be unique, be different, don’t settle etc. I don’t have to mention any of these organizations, you know who they are, but the question remains – is your management style or your behavior as an employee consistent with a rock the boat strategy or do you always play it safe protecting your image, career, personality, other’s opinions of you or how you are perceived by people you work with or for?

As a speaker and trainer I always ask my clients and audiences to consider the consequences of settling and failing to risk the disapproval of others by always playing it safe. As an author many of my books ask my readers to ask themselves very probing and thought provoking questions that may seem uncomfortable, but in the end are necessary if we want to grow and manage our lives in a successful way.

Do you rock the boat?

Do you have the courage, confidence and self-esteem to bring real issues that your supervisor, board, fellow employees, suppliers, customers or your organization in general faces to the surface or out in the open?

Or, do you keep them hidden inside hoping things will just move along smoothly, get better with time or just miraculously disappear?