In his book, The Untethered Soul, Michel Singer tells the story of a person with a thorn in his arm. Everytime she brushes up against something or someone, she is in excruciating pain. So she builds a protective device to protect her arm. However, she finds she can’t sleep as every moment in bed results in pain. So she builds a device that enables her to sleep. She no longer can play the games she loves because of the devices she wears to protect the thorn. Therefore she stops being physically active and takes up chess.
Her whole life has changed because of the thorn. She finds ways to ‘live’ with it rather than removing the thorn, which yes, would be painful. However, as she changed her life she experienced and experiences on going pain too – just a different type of pain.
The story resonates with most of us in our personal lives, but can it resonate too in our organisational lives. Often I listen to project teams take about workarounds they’ve created to deal policies and processes that no longer work. Or we collect heaps of data we don’t need and then need to add ten other actions or meetings to deal with the data we didn’t need in the first place. We are scared of asking questions or having uncomfortable conversations and are left with more unnecessary work.
Perhaps it doesn’t need to be this way?