Unconscious Addictions…What’s the True Cost?

Yesterday, I went to the Memorial Reception of a son of a very dear friend. The son recently died of a heroin overdose. Such a tragedy. One sad aspect was that he’d actually been getting his life back together, kicking the habit, developing new companies and his career, but ultimately losing out to his personal demon…heroin. After processing this tragedy it had me thinking about my own addictions and how I tended to “mask” them over.

I am self-admittedly addicted to TV and food. Funny, I would tell my wife that TV was my drug of choice. It provided an escape. An escape from the chaos and craziness in the world. But never the less, it was still an addiction. And it does provide an associated cost. Wastes time where I could be doing more creative endeavors, reading, learning, playing games, have deep conversations with friends & family.

Now let’s look at another addiction of mine which for 40 years was driving me much more than I’d like to admit and that was …. the fear of abandonment. I was addicted to “fitting in” at any & all cost. What does that look like? What mask am I now wearing? First of all, being a “pleaser”, pleasing people to find acceptance, to fit in, but at what cost. The cost is not being authentic, to cave into others’ wishes, of not truly expressing myself and relinquishing my power.

So, what does this have to do with Corporate America? All organizations are filled with people who have various forms of addictions. From CEO’s to janitors, from administrative assistants to programmers, from engineers to truck drivers. From drug addiction to gambling, from pleasing to kleptomania, from needing power & control to laziness. Our addictions keep us from reaching our full potential. Our addictions keep us from being completely “present” to one another and impairing our communication. Our impaired communication translates into a lack of productivity and quality. That costs Corporate America millions of dollars.

The trouble with many addictions is they are often hidden from plain sight, they aren’t obvious and the individuals’ themselves are actually unaware of them and the true cost to them. Or possibly they’re in denial. But think about it…what if many of the “wellness programs” that many companies are implementing dealt with all of our insidious addictions and not just cessation of smoking or doing more exercise. What if those programs took on a more proactive role with all addictions? What would taking off that “mask” look like? What do we have to lose?

Greg Sievers

Responding to Ferguson

How will your organization respond to Ferguson?

That depends on the vision and mission of your organization. If your organization exists merely to make profits for the shareholders, Ferguson might be at most a speed bump in your drive to achieve your goal.

If, however, your organization has the goal of creating a better, healthier society while making profits, Ferguson can be an opportunity to create dialogue, asking how people of different backgrounds and cultures can form relationships based on mutual respect and trust. In the final analysis, most humans are inherently similar – we want to be treated with love and respect, we want the opportunity to do something worthwhile, and we want our children and their children to have rich, full lives. You can use these universal goals as the foundation for creating meaningful dialogue, inviting people to work together to achieve them.

If you do this, your organization can be a source of healing, of hope, in an increasingly divisive and divided society. Doing this will directly impact all your people, both white and non-white. Your efforts will also inevitably reach beyond your organization. They will also impact your customers, your suppliers, and the communities within which you operate. You will be taking one seemingly small step toward healing the chasm between whites and minorities. But even though your efforts might seem insignificant, they will be joined by countless other acts of kindness that will indeed create the world we wish to see. As Mother Teresa reminds us, “We cannot do great things, only small things with great love.”

Gary Langenwalter

3 a.m. and Can’t Sleep

One of the lesser-appreciated costs of leadership is waking up at 3 a.m. and not being able to get back to sleep, because you’re trying to figure out a way forward where there are no decent guidelines. Sometimes it seems like there are no answers at all, but your organization can’t stay where it is! Other times, each alternative has a huge downside. Still other times (but much more rare, in my experience) is the choice between good alternatives.

So, what keeps you awake at night? Is it:

· Strategy – where to take your company? What new products and services to offer? Which current products and services to phase out?

· People – how to find and motivate and keep them?

· Finance – where to get money for expansion?

· Sales – how to increase? How to recover from the loss of a major customer? How to find customers who are willing to pay enough for your products or services?

· Expenses – how to cut?

· Competition – what they’re planning next (or what they’re already doing), and how to counter it?

· Customers – how to deal with them? How to attract and retain the customers you really want?

· Suppliers – how to deal with them? How to attract and retain the suppliers you really want?

· Regulations, red tape, other government issues?

· Other?

I hope you’ll reply to this posting, or e-mail me at gary

Gary Langenwalter 971-221-8155