How to Avoid Strategic Self-Sabotage

 
 
By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 11-26-2015 Email
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    How to Avoid Strategic Self-Sabotage
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    How to Avoid Strategic Self-Sabotage

    Self-defeating traits can stifle and prevent IT teams from accomplishing strategic objectives—but there is hope for those with counter-productive tendencies.
  • Previous
    Insisting on Doing Everything Through Channels
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    Insisting on Doing Everything Through Channels

    Strict by-the-book policies can't accommodate the current pace of business and tech changes. Establish best practices while allowing teams members, especially those who combine good judgment with high performance, freedom to make on-the-spot decisions.
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    Talking as Frequently as Possible and at Great Length
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    Talking as Frequently as Possible and at Great Length

    Cultivate an atmosphere in which participants get to the point during meetings and move on. Repetitive discussions that drag on for hours will dull mental edge and energy.
  • Previous
    Referring All Matters to Committees
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    Referring All Matters to Committees

    Good ideas often die in committees, as the diluting of accountability results in a lack of personalized, take-charge action. Appoint a single person to own every proposal and set concrete deadlines for response.
  • Previous
    Bringing Up Irrelevant Issues as Frequently as Possible
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    Bringing Up Irrelevant Issues as Frequently as Possible

    Those who insist upon introducing irrelevant priorities, problems and processes will send their colleagues off in unproductive directions. Align all action steps with direct, desired outcomes.
  • Previous
    Haggling Over the Precise Wording of Communications
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    Haggling Over the Precise Wording of Communications

    In written communications, attention to details matters. But don't let this paralyze team members, lest the pursuit of perfection becomes "the enemy of the good."
  • Previous
    Referring Back to Matters Decided Upon at the Last Meeting
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    Referring Back to Matters Decided Upon at the Last Meeting

    Re-opening debate over decided matters conveys weaknesses in your leadership, while making involved team members feel resentful over being "overruled." Stick to decisions, but incorporate enough flexibility to adjust to unforeseen events.
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    Urging Colleagues to Be Reasonable and Avoid Haste
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    Urging Colleagues to Be Reasonable and Avoid Haste

    In the old days, "haste makes waste." Today, haste makes for disruptive impact. So move quickly with informed, calculated direction.
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    Questioning the Propriety of Any Decision by Asking, ‘Is This Our Call?’
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    Questioning the Propriety of Any Decision by Asking, ‘Is This Our Call?’

    Eliminate ambiguity over roles and needed outcomes, so team members are empowered to identify opportunities and act upon them.
 

Do you have a saboteur within your IT team? Or are you doing such damage yourself—without being aware of it? The recent book, Simple Sabotage: A Modern Field Manual for Detecting and Rooting Out Everyday Behaviors that Undermine Your Workplace (HarperOne/available now), addresses these possibilities by identifying self-defeating professional traits/situations that can stifle, sidetrack and otherwise prevent work teams from accomplishing strategic objectives. Authors Robert M. Galford, Bob Frisch and Cary Greene base their "simple sabotages" upon a field manual that the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) issued in 1944. (The OSS was the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency.) The manual elaborated upon sabotage methods intended to demoralize the enemy. The authors make a convincing case that these tactics are alive and well within corporate America today—even if the guilty parties (and, yes, you may be among them) bear no ill-intent. In many cases, the counter-productive behaviors are simply the outcome of benign but still unfortunate cultural dynamics and personal shortcomings. Our presentation of eight, selected sabotaging actions—along with ways to overcome them—are adapted from the book. Galford is managing partner of the Center for Leading Organizations. Frisch is managing partner of the Strategic Offsites Group, while Greene is a partner with Strategic Offsites Group.

 
 
 
 
 
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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