Mere Observations from different settings and perspectives:
Where this blog began in my thought processes was based on two people and their interactions. I could see both sides of the situation, the logic that was being employed by both, but where their dissonance was causing a “butting of heads” so to speak. They were failing to see each other’s perspective to find common ground and work together to a common goal. So I decided to write it out from multiple standpoints which I have seen the same moment play out repeatedly over the years.
Case Study 1: Corporate Structure
Corporations are merely businesses of a particular structure, usually we think of corporations as being larger businesses. This is not always true, but for this case study I am referencing larger businesses.
Each large business entity is still a business with an original intent. Businesses have goals to meet specific needs of their target consumers. They want to solve Problem X for Population A and in turn do so in a way to, sooner than later, make a profit. Their goal is to do a good job solving Problem X, for the lowest cost, to make both the consumer and their board and stock holders happy. Every business, large or small, functions on this very basic oversimplified concept.
With that in mind, businesses usually then want very skilled employees that are very dependable and efficient at fulfilling each particular role in the company. The more efficient and skilled the employees are, the better able they are to complete tasks properly and in a timely manner, saving money on both production labor and customer satisfaction. The more skilled and efficient, the more can be completed, so then companies often either seek better and better employees, or push their employees to continually reach for improving themselves.
Yet, at the same time, nearly all employees have similar goals. Their goals being self-improvement, higher efficiency, better skills sets. This is not only for a current position, but in case they need to seek a new position for any reason. They often are continually thinking about their lives, where they are headed, what they need or want to accomplish. Often family is a factor and a knowing that bigger family requires more resources and thus a step up in income. Always looking up to the next best thing. It is human nature to want improvement and most seek that improvement through incremental action steps.
Does the corporation ever notice when the employees accomplish a step of self-improvement on their own? Does the company ever reward the employees that do continually strive to better themselves? Does the company back off on the pushing of that goal when all of the employees are working together as best as could be expected? Is there ever acknowledgement of stasis- for the technology that currently exists and the employees available to the company, the company has reached the most optimum efficiency possible? Does the company ever step back and examine their fees structure and wage structure to examine if they are paying a living wage? For example, if one company hired a married couple with 2 children, would that family be able to survive on the wages that the company was paying those 2 individuals, or would the family have to create additional income? The same could apply to a singular individual. Does the company ever evaluate their choices in benefits to see if their choice is actually helpful to their employees, wages are even more vital if benefits do not cover what they are supposed to cover? For example, my worthless insurance through the activities position that paid for 2 labs, 1 chiropractic visit, and $4 of my pregnancy/birth; the policy cost me $700, my employer $3,000 and still left me with another $3,500 out of pocket. Big dollars for negligible worth.
At the same time, there is responsibility for the employee as well. Two sides must work together to accomplish a unified goal. Do employees ever contemplate the cost of their accidental lapses in the grander scheme? For instance, I missed the trash can and didn’t pick it up, if every employee did that once a day, how much extra housekeeping costs does that incur? Do employees ever contemplate the amount of overhead that companies incur, insurance and utilities, and do employees ever make strides to help reduce those costs? Accident free workplaces have lower company insurance costs. Turning off back-room and store-closet lights,etc. save on utility overhead. Using washable towels or hand-dryers help reduce waste and overhead. Working together with co-workers instead of arguing can not only solve problems more quickly, but lead to greater efficiency in general.
Every action of every work day has the potential to cost both the employee and the company in different ways, and both sides are equally responsible for coming together and thinking of the other to help improve the greater outcome for both sides. We’re all in this boat together, its up to us all whether we sink and swim, or row to shore.
Case Study 2: Small Business and their Dealings
Small business go through the same problems as large businesses, but the effects are often seen much faster. Where I currently work it can be seen in as simple as paper-towel usage when employees forget to utilize washable towels, costing the company extra cases of paper-towels. Even moments like efficiency being affected by laundry screeching to a halt when one practitioner gets behind or forgets their load has even been run (I’m most guilty of that one). However, there can often be other behind the scenes moments that take their toll.
One such moment I witnessed in another company was about a business deal going sideways. One person was the buyer, and as buyer they wanted to save as much as possible knowing that there would be long-term costs to look forward to. They wanted to make very certain they could handle the end result. Additionally, as any buyer would, they wanted to save money if possible. So they were looking for every possible option to require the seller to cover costs, and thus reduce potential long term concerns. (I might have benefited from a little of this perspective on my home purchase, but still consider myself very fortunate to have found a home in such good shape, so I’ll cross fingers that it pans out to my benefit long-term anyway.)
The seller however, was looking for someone that they trusted and felt was committed to the deal. Someone that would be able to follow through and assume the full responsibility of what the deal would entail long term. They were searching for a capable buyer that could handle all of the aspects of the result of the deal. The repeat requests for seller to pay began to come off as the appearance that the buyer might not be able to handle the results of the sale and everything might collapse anyway- that the buyer might not be responsible enough or financially stable enough (the same concern most mortgage companies deal with and thus require so much in financial documentation). Being that customers would be affected regardless of the longer term results, the seller might have been questioning if the decision to sell was a good idea, as perhaps another buyer might be a better fit.
As conflict ensued it was clear that neither was contemplating the other side’s view and neither was reaching for the common middle ground. The buyer could call it good with what was already requested, and the seller could state that certain things be a good faith equivalent to ernest money in a home buying situation. Some form of common ground like that could set the deal back on it’s original trajectory. (Of course that is where I lost track of things having moved on with my own journey, so I’m not sure if they were actually able to find that common ground or not. I sincerely hope they did, and that everything ultimately went smoothly.)
So even in small bushiness and small business deals, there is still a responsibility for both sides to find common ground and work toward common goals. There is still a responsibility for everyone to contemplate their actions and how they affect others involved. There is still a responsibility for us to attempt to reach for our better functioning, more efficient, more skilled selves as often as possible. Yet, is it just in our working lives?
Case Study 3: Relationships
Relationships also require the same thought processes and reaching for common ground.
Even if a relationship has a strong connection, that bond of love that is felt not seen, it can fall prey to many of the same challenges that businesses and employees see. That is when you start finding yourself in moments where someone feels hurt or disrespected. That is when you find moments of arguments and bickering. We are all human and do have lapses, and it is very important to find forgiveness for lapses, especially when they are unintended. However, if one partner in a close relationship has begun to disregard the importance of self-improvement and consideration of others, and how their daily actions affect the whole, that is then where relationships tend to fall apart. It is one thing to have a lapse and another to completely turn away from all of those considerations.
So I leave you with a final set of considerations that can apply to any relationship.
- How are my actions affecting those I care about?
- Am I improperly prioritizing things in my life: am I putting things before people, or am I putting recreation before necessary functions?
- Am I creating extra work by being careless, forgetful, or disorganized?
- Am I relying on others to catch my back too often?
- Can I be more proactive, or another way to put that is am I being too lazy or blase?
- Do I consider other’s feelings or their needs when I choose to do things, or choose to do them in a certain way or at a certain time?
- Am I considerate of how my actions might affect overhead (bills, utilities, fuel, etc.) or scheduling concerns?
- Am I supportive of others in a similar manner, kindly reminding them of things that are affecting my needs and asking politely for adjustments when needed?
- Can I be doing more, or can I be more helpful?
- Am I being a good listener and conveying that I do feel concern for their state of being and their needs?
- Am I offering help with proper timing and with their needs considered?
If you find yourself reading these considerations, and gagging at the thought of putting them into action in a particular relationship, you might not be in a good relationship already. It might be time to move on from that relationship, but only you can answer that. If they seem challenging, but worth it, then you are on track for improving your stance in a solid relationship. Again, this can be any relationship, family, friend, or co-worker.
Again, this post was written merely because I noticed an overlapping trend, triggered by one particular pair of people in my life experience. I only hope for our society, our country, our world to reach more often for common ground and work toward common goals. Politics has definitely triggered that desire in me strongly, but my daily life reinforced it.
May we all find common ground and reach for common goals. May we all work together to solve problems and meet needs. May we find ways to better ourselves, and in that better our lives and the whole world. May we all have successful ventures and find a way to make ‘both’ happy. May we easily consider our actions on others and reach for ways to do better. May we all think of how our actions impact our daily existence in as many ways as possible. Finally, may we all reach for better.
Siva Hir Su