No one around you asks these three questions as the team makes decisions:

  • Who on this team is hoping for a promotion or role change soon – and therefore won’t be transparent?
  • Who has a vested interest in seeing things remain the same? (What decision did we make in the past that this person needs sustained?)
  • What is the real truth everyone is going to share in the private meetings-after-the-meeting?

While it is common for teammates to think these questions, rarely will you hear the inquiries articulated. That’s because of the game the system makes people play.

The system (the unwritten codes of conduct) in most organization dictates to unaware employees that they only say and do things that serve their interests. “Deliver value to the customer” is the message; “advance your reputation or career” is the game.

This system stinks when you’re not very good at playing the game. It is also lousy if you are the customer: You don’t get the best product for you. You get the best product for employees playing the game.

More than anything, the game saps organizations of meaning, leaving employees wondering: Why am I doing this?

This is when it is important to remember: You don’t have to play the game. And you don’t have to leave your organization to quit the game. You can change the system: Today, tell the truth the customer wants (needs!) you to tell.

You’ll be surprised what happens to your career – and your experience – as a result.

In our next Collaborative Leader’s Huddle I’ll be speaking with Stacey Engle, Founder of Authority Lab. She’s an expert at equipping employees with agency.

You have more influence – and are stronger – than you likely believe. Join us for the Huddle here.



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