I would like to share with you a lesson I have learned, and challenge you to think through it as I do. I use this as a guide; Not only at InfoEd but also in my personal life…
The concept can be broken down into three circles: The convergence of them, I believe, creates satisfaction and puts one in a position to truly emotionally accept where he/she is. Good or bad. Ideal or not.
Each circle represents a different perspective.
- What you think the truth of the situation is.
- What others think the truth of a situation is
- What the truth of the situation actually is.
In a well-adjusted business (or person’s life) it is critical to keep these circles overlapping as much as possible, while also accepting that there are factors which are outside of your control. There is always going to be some realities which must be accepted.
When the circles overlap only a little, or not at all, this is where the trouble lives. A company or person’s emotional, physical and/or financial health may lie in the balance. There will be things you cannot reconcile as a result. The signals from the two other circles (that are not the perspective circle) will drain the person or company, consciously or not. This discrepancy will cause frustration and/or denial.
The most difficult part of this exercise is identifying where the circles lie and overlap. It can be painful at times, but as everyone knows, ignoring things does not make them go away. This is probably best illustrated by some examples; let’s start with a few easy ones:
You think you weigh too much. This is the circle that represents your perception of a situation. You stress over dieting and exercise to try to get to the weight you believe you need to be.
Your friends and others keep telling you that you need a meal or two because you are too thin. They are telling you that you need to gain a few pounds. This is the circle that represents others perception of a situation.
Then your doctor comes along and says your weight is just fine; it’s a healthy weight for you. Gaining or losing weight will move you out of this good place. You may (and probably should) consider this the circle that represents the actual truth of the situation.
There are three different circles/opinions in play here. Consciously or not, stress and mal-adjustment ensue. There is a good chance you may not know or can not acknowledge the circles are disconnected. The goal here is to move yourself and the “others” on the same page so everyone realizes your weight is okay. Once the three circles are more aligned, the person or company will be better adjusted and in a much better place.
These circles can also be used a way which allows a company or person to grow. This is my favorite way to use them. Let’s take that previous example and use it as a way which demonstrates some healthy growth:
You think you weigh too much but it’s not a big deal. Few extra pounds is common on many people right? You are not alone. This is the circle that represents your perception of the situation.
Your friends and others keep telling you that you are fine. They are telling you that you look great and there is no reason to even consider that you are overweight. This is the circle that represents others perception of the situation.
Then your doctor comes along and says your weight is very unhealthy because you are very overweight. You are at risk of a myriad of health problems and/or some of the health problems you already have are due to your weight. You should consider this the circle that represents the actual truth of the situation.
Here is where the growth comes in: again, it is mission critical to align the circles. In this example, you need to accept that weight loss is in your best interest and work towards it. In most cases this involves considerable effort. Circles that matter don’t generally move easily, and a significant amount of work is needed to move them closer toward overlapping. The longer circles have been in a position, it seems that the harder it is to move them.
To take a look at this from a company perspective, another simple example is the circle which represents a person’s take on his or her job. One circle represents what your supervisor thinks. One represents what you think and the third represents what is really going on. It should be your goal, and the company’s goal, to align these circles.
It is my responsibility to ensure the health of the company. Like most organizations, InfoEd’s circles are not always aligned. It is my duty to spot this when this occurs, and take action. I believe I continually make an effort to move the circles, most notably the one that represents where I want us to be.
My ultimate goal is to move the “Reality Circle” to a better place and use it as a target for the other two circles. Ofcourse, then I am tasked with getting the rest of the company to grow to line up with the reality circle. In this case the reality circle is again a target. As we grow, we should know when our self-perception circle lines up with the client’s perception circle, which overlaps the circle of excellence we have grown towards. We will be better as a result of this positive movement.
There are many things to consider in this. One of the most fundamental is that you might be doing a good job already. We may actually in fact be doing just fine. The clients say we are okay, or even good. We might know and feel the same. We also might be able to prove the reality of this via metrics and other Key Performance Indicators, KPI’s.
So, I challenge everyone to help me and the company move towards the excellence circle. I do not want to settle for “good enough” or “OK”. I challenge us to be excellent. When we achieve that, rest assured, I will move the target even father ahead.
You have been a part of a lot of changes. These changes are designed to help us move towards the excellence circle that we should all want to be standing in, alongside our clients. Everyone should be working to get better, while also understanding you, more than likely, are already doing a great job.
I am counting on everyone’s help to continue to move InfoEd towards the “Excellence” circle. I am counting on you to support management and each other as we do this.
It will involve change.
It will involve, in many cases, moving out of your comfort zone.
Without change there can be no growth.
We are doing very good job in most cases. I am very proud to have each of you as a part of the InfoEd family. Let’s all grow together and hit the excellence circle.