Monday, 3 September 2007

Graph of Gullibility

(c) RR 2007

Do you agree that all healthy relationships (home and work) require an optimum (for the parties concerned ) amount of conferral? Something I noticed as a commercial manager was a 'honey-moon' period where a 'newbie' would depend quite heavily on me for cultural cues, guidance of expectations (must do's, don't dos' and degrees of freedom) and feedback on good/bad performance.

For the relationship to remain healthy the interplay between the parties needs to ebb and flow such that 'newbie' increasingly acts independently where appropriate yet engages in 'co-thinking' with the manager concerning sense -making and future strategies.

The picture above attempts to model what can happen when one of the partners ceases to confer or co-think (blue line) and what happens during a balanced relationship. We could call this the Gullibility Slide and it is something that we sense long before the situation slips beyond our ability to successfully redeem the situation. The start of the slide should not be ignored.

I was very gullible in early management life when I mistakenly supported 'newbies' in their desire to become autonomous. To the extent that occaisonally they associated 'freedom to operate' with 'freedom to ignore' and 'freedom to make independent commercial judgements'. This had the debilitating effect of me getting increasingly out of touch on the one hand, and on the other any subsequent 'interest' by me being seen as interference and even suffocating!

I was told a great story about how to 'get the balance right' - think of inter-relationships like holding a butterfly - grasp too tight and you crush it to death, hold too loose and it flies away.

1 comment:

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