Monday, August 30, 2010

Bath time? Hold on while I ignore you.

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley

My miniature Schnauzer Tempo was my pet growing up. She was full of personality, and she was opinionated. She thought she should make the decisions on who is to be allowed into the house. Tempo also thought that it was within her control to say who or what could hang out in her backyard. She thought she should decide when it was time for her bath, and that decision would have been never.

Tempo would watch intently as Mom gathered the dog towels from under the sink. She would quietly step into the kitchen while Mom looked for the pet shampoo and brush. As soon as Mom closed the cabinet door, Tempo turned and ran to the couch in the den, quickly hopping onto it and settling into the far corner with her back turned to Mom. Tempo believed, every time she was due a bath, that if she would ignore the facts by turning her back on the situation, the bath wouldn't happen.

 We all see this approach in the workplace--I've used the "ostrich-head-in-the-sand" analogy numerous times in my presentations and training sessions with managers. But as we know, ignoring the situation does not make it go away. No matter how many times Tempo huddled in the corner, she always ended up getting a bath. She tried to ignore the facts, and they never went away.

Managers have an affirmative responsibility to acknowledge the facts--ignoring them will inevitably lead to bad results for employers. The employee who continually shows up late? The discord in a department because one person refuses to be a team player and pull her weight? Repeated mistakes by an assistant that are growing in severity? All facts that can not and should not be ignored. The bath is coming, just like Tempo experienced, even if you ignore facts. You might not come out smelling as good as she did, though.

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