Lost in a MazeI often ask myself the question “How did I get here?� Looking back on the choices I’ve made in my life so far, this question cannot always be answered. Try it – look back on the last 5 years and see if every decision you have made makes sense in getting you to where you are today. The answer will probably be no.
A depressing question this may be and the reason I ask this is because I’m currently evaluating the position that I am in professionally. TomorrowToday has made me think. Think about what I actually want out of my professional life and more importantly what I don’t want. I look at the issues raised by TomorrowToday about Talent Management – how should companies be treating people in order to recruit and retain them? Where are companies going wrong and what are they doing to successfully retain good people?
My current situation is a prime example of what not to do. Specifically, do not create an environment of fear. Do not create an environment where people are scared to make their own decisions and act on their initiative for fear of having what we call ‘the dictatorship’ coming down on them. In short, people should never be scared to be themselves.
Old fashioned you may say but it happens. There are still environments out there where people fear their jobs may be lost if they put a foot out of line. If they do not follow orders and company policies to the tee even in situations where they may be right.
The other day a good friend of mine phoned me during my lunch and casually mentioned during our conversation that she was on her way to the hairdresser. “What?� I said, “It’s the middle of the day�. “So what?� was her reply. She was right, so what? It is her lunch break and she is entitled to do anything she likes during that hour. Well, not anything but you get the picture. We don’t work like that. Lunch is half an hour and you are told when you can take that half hour.
The sad thing is this particular company could be great. All the right ingredients are there. The people are young, vibrant and full of creative potential. Unfortunately, this creativity is constantly put down. Yes, you are given the opportunity to express yourself and come up with new ideas about the ways certain tasks should be handled but you always end up doing what you are told to do. Recently I was asked to re visit a certain process and look at ways that this could be improved. I spent a full week drafting new documentation, internal and external processes and finally got the opportunity to present this to the higher powers. I thought that I had done a pretty good job and was feeling confident. However, 90% of what I had done was questioned. Ways that my documentation and processes could be improved (or rather completely changed) were discussed and decided upon in front of me. Not once was I asked for my opinion and no comments, good or bad, were passed about my efforts.
If I’ve shocked you I’m not surprised. I am shocked almost every day. We are all adults and in my opinion being an adult means that you can make your own decisions and in particular your employers should trust that you are capable of making these decisions. Being an adult means that your opinions should be listened to and that you and your individuality should at all times be treated with respect.

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