Johnnie Moore

Pulling a geographic when decision making

Decision making and avoiding drama
Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Decision making wisdom from 12-step recovery

Transcript of this video:

Pulling a geographic. It’s a term I picked up from a friend who’d been in a 12 step recovery program and it describes how an addict will sometimes think that the best thing to do is to make a dramatic change in their life, and they decide to, for example, move to Australia, only to find when they get there, that all their bad habits and patterns have actually followed them out there. And they’re worse off than when they started. 

And it’s a peril that organizations can easily fall into when they adopt very bold change programs with very grand visions of the future. And they probably need to take a leaf out of that 12 step book and pay more attention to the small changes that they can make, sense their environment, sense changes in their environment more carefully and effect change in a more conversational way. There’s a very good article in the Harvard Business Review from the start of the pandemic about balancing the leadership role of setting a vision with that of holding, of creating safety in relationships for people, a more conversational process. And it reminds me of working with a client a few years ago, the head of a tech company. And I suggested to him that he once a week take out a different member of staff for a coffee from different parts of the organization and not say much, not even ask many questions, just listen. And he told me, a month later, of the conversation he’d had with the receptionist he’d taken out and had learned that it had been noted that he kept the prime position in the company car park, as if it was his, CEO’s spot.

And he thought: that’s odd, there’s no official CEO spot, but then he realized that as a workaholic, he tended to arrive at the office at five in the morning, he’d be the first one there. And he’d take the space nearest to the door, unaware that it was creating this little status impression on people. And after that, he said, he chose to park his car somewhere else and people noticed. 

Now often in a talk on video, you’d now hear that, and that was part of a change program that led to a 7% increase in sales. No, no, I don’t really know if there was any long-term impact of that. 

What I do know is that that was the story he chose to share with me because I think there is enormous satisfaction in noticing these small influences we have on each other. And so let’s perhaps balance out the urge to pull a geographic with a greater capacity to sense what’s going on in the moment.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

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