Chapter 4IDENTIFY YOUR ASSETS, INCLUDING THE HIDDEN ONES (SKILL 3)

Many people operate in what we might call “If Only Land.” Every time they are part of a conversation, they are quick to bring up what they wish they had – a better job, a nicer home, more well‐behaved children. Companies and organizations aren't much different. If you could listen in on their meetings, you'd hear statements like:

  • If only we hadn't missed that opportunity…
  • If only we had more money…
  • If only other countries didn't have such low labor costs…

It's not that these desires aren't real – the people and organization truly would like to be in a different position. But at the end of the conversation, nothing's changed, and most likely, the next time you talk, you'll hear the same sentiments over again.1

If we're honest with ourselves, it's not just other people in “If Only Land.” Most of us are at least frequent visitors. We've convinced ourselves that we can't really do anything until someone else acts to fill a need that we see as critical. It's not necessarily that we are pessimistic by nature (although that may be the case for some of us). It's really a manifestation of hierarchy thinking. We've discussed the ways in which hierarchies limit thinking and control behavior; another of their important functions is to allocate resources. Most organizations have a number of processes around this: budgeting, for example, allows leaders to provide funding to various units. “Stage‐gating,” in which groups present ...

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