We’ll Never Really "Solve" Organizational Life

In his newly revised book on change, Beyond the Wall of Resistance, my colleague Rick Maurer includes an interview with author/consultant Geoffrey Bellman. Bellman’s response contains some wisdom that helps us all understand the truth about thriving in organizations (and, for that matter, in life).

At the base of it all, we’re all a bunch of naked human beings. Down underneath it all, in the game we never talk about–the primary game–we’re all down there reaching, grasping, clinging, lifting, floating through life.But we seldom acknowledge this. We’re all equal in that regard. We all share a resistance to looking into the deeper meaning of what we are doing.

Let go of the idea that we are ever going to fully understand it, but always keep trying to understand the unspoken game. We are always going to be discovering more about ourselves, our games. We need to acknowledge that the game goes beyond our ability to make sense of it. It is a fascinating life mystery.

Then he goes on, now talking as a consultant:

Whenever I tell clients to “Do this,” ” Don’t do that,” I imply that the game is “solvable.” It is not. My advice, my techniques, tools, and models are only attempts at fuller understanding; these tools will not give me answers, the complete picture.

This is such a powerful reminder to all of us who coach, whether you are a manager or an independent like me. We can’t “fix” things for those we coach. And we owe it to tell those same people–and ourselves–that there is no ultimate solution to the challenges of swimming in an organizational soup. There is only the prospect of continuing to become a gradually better swimmer.

© 2010 – 2016, Ian Cook. All rights reserved.

Ian Cook About Ian Cook

Ian Cook, presenter and consultant, works with managers who want to increase their effectiveness as a leader and build a stronger team. To book Ian for a training seminar, team facilitation or keynote presentation, call toll-free at: 1-888-FULCRUM (385-2786) or e-mail: ian@888fulcrum.com. For more articles and book reviews of interest to managers please go to: www.888fulcrum.com.