As CEO your experiences addressing growth and practicing organizational development can have a great deal in common with the experiences of Dr. Jekyll’s friend, Mr. Utterson, from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Mysterious Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Like Utterson, a sense of normalcy is present but you also see strange behaviors emanate from areas managed by people whom you’ve come to know and trust. At first there is a wondering as to what is happening. A concern, a desire to check in and offer help sets in. Eventually the awareness develops that the strange behavior is coming from the trusted person himself.
With all the business demands you really don’t need this! So, let’s walk through the situation and examine Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, their dilemma, and possible solutions.
Most people want to do well and fit in socially. We are wired that way at birth. An interesting twist to that wiring is it varies from person to person. We each have a neurological bias towards how we see the world and process information. This means some tasks we take to naturally and others are more challenging.
For example, one person may be great with big ideas while another person excels at running things on a day-to-day basis. Taken in aggregate, we call these strong points “self” and they comprise our consciousness, our Dr. Jekyll. We feel complete.
We launch our career and settle down to a particular life style based on “self,” based on our own Dr. Jekyll. But what about those other parts? Do they just lie around? Hmmm…let’s explore.
While Dr. Jekyll is developing, the undesirable or more challenging parts get pushed into the shadows as if they never existed. Those parts make up Mr. Hyde. The longer Mr. Hyde is pushed down the greater the potential for fear and/or outrage towards situations requiring use of those traits. To compound things, developing Mr. Hyde to work with the organization during the change management process takes extra effort since those traits are weak from under-development. The stage is set for a dilemma.
As mentioned before, people tend to migrate to positions emphasizing their Dr. Jekyll. It can be very upsetting when the business demands changes requiring Mr. Hyde to be invited to join the team.
The Dr. Jekyll of one team member may simply want to know what the rules are and his eyes glaze over at the thought of a strategy meeting while the Dr. Jekyll of another excels at strategizing but gets bored with details. While these individuals may get along well when everything is stable via division of labor, tempers can flair when the stress of needed changes to the organization requires seeing things through the other person’s eyes.
The solution to proper organizational development in this change management situation lies in your leadership and discipline. The leadership is based on principles critical to success, e.g., understanding the need for, and importance of, each frame of mind required for team success. Discipline emerges from consistent application of those principles, e.g., mutual respect, trust, and cross-training, as you work towards the goal of establishing the new organization.
There’s an added reason. Staying on top of your business and navigating the changes in your business environment requires everyone’s eyes and ears to be as open and receptive as possible. There is no telling who or what will be the source of valuable information. Blind spots are the kiss of death. Mutual respect and cross-training will help immensely. It’s what the Green Berets do.
The odds of success with this approach increase as the organization grows and adapts to shifts in the business environment. The stress becomes a positive stress, energizing your team. The Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde within each associate unite and a greater sense of significance, satisfaction, and being “alive” grow within. Everyone can feel it! Each becomes leader in their own right.
Timing is important. Decisions must be made. Similar to a samurai your best decisions flow from a detached, empathetic awareness of the overall picture.
Determine the limits of what you can risk. With limited resources the solution will probably comprise some combination of:
- Supporting individuals in bringing more of the positive aspects of Mr. Hyde’s skills to the table;
- Adjusting the timetable for achieving goals to match the rate of change people can sustain;
- Bringing in outside resources to replace or augment current team members;
- Deciding to cancel or delay achieving some aspect of the goals because the terrain is shifting too fast or the opportunity will disappear by the time the team is ready to work;
- Jumping to a new business terrain (which can be both harrowing and exciting).
There are threats and opportunities associated with all these strategies. By sticking with your values and beliefs a plan will show itself.