Last week I introduced an interview with Meg Wheatley, consultant and author, by Art Kleiner, which appeared in strategy+business magazine. She clearly described the impact of the Victim Orientation and a Creator Orientation on an organization and the work environment.
The problem-focused, fear-based and reactive Victim Orientation is fertile soil for the growing of the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ (first described as the Karpman Drama Triangle). In such an environment, virtually everyone feels like a Victim, be it to the Persecutor of the economic environment, the competition, one’s “boss” (no matter what level in the hierarchy in which one works), another department or co-worker – and the list goes on.
When the toxic brew of the DDT gets engaged, much time, talent and energy gets consumed by various strategies to protect oneself (i.e. “CYA”), looking for someone or something to blame and hoping-against-hope that some Rescuer will come forward to save the day, right the ship, and make it all OK – and to return things to the “good old days.”
And the good old days are just that… in the past.
If the economic prognosticators are correct, the economic realities we all face and their impact on organizations of all kinds are likely never going back, the “recovery” is likely to be unlike what we have experienced before and, therefore, the way forward is calling for a new way of responding.
Enter TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) ™.
Rooted in a Creator Orientation in which we are outcome-focused, passion-powered and taking action that is creating in nature, TED* calls forth a more resourceful and empowering way of working and relating to one another.
I am reminded of the late Steve Jobs. While I have not read his biography, my own observation of his resuming the helm of Apple after having been ousted as CEO will serve as an example. At the time, Apple had lost an enormous amount of its market share and previous leadership had tried the traditional reaction of cutting costs and shrinking the company.
Instead, (again, this is my “armchair observation”), rather that continuing the problem-focused and reactivity of his predecessors, Jobs focused on what could be created. The result, initially, was to introduce the I-Mac (along with the unheard of features of different colors of the case). As the company took Baby Steps forward in service to innovation, over time it introduced I-Tunes, the I-Phone and the I-Pad, along with upgrading its computer offerings.
Legend has it that Jobs could certainly be, at times, a Persecutor in his response to others. However, consistent with TED*, he also served as a Challenger, asked the provocative questions of a Coach (e.g. “What wants to be created?) and was an exemplar of a Creator.
By cultivating and gaining competence as Creators, Challengers and Coaches, we can respond to the challenges we face in our organizations by shifting our focus from reacting to creating.