The Long Game of Peacemaking

by Ron

For any leader, they must understand that peacemaking on their team is a long game.

Peacemakers understand the longer-term view

Even as we stop focusing on ourselves, begin building interpersonal relationships, and seek to understand the progressive stages of change, we also need to take a longer-term view of the issues or changes. Too often people make small, short-term improvements that send their organizations into a rapid-fire series of chaotic adjustments; then they make more small changes that rip apart their employees’ morale.

Peter G. Peterson, chairman of The Blackstone Group, said in an interview:

Don’t sacrifice your long-term vital future for the temporary present. Just as it is a mistake to assume that boom times go on forever (an assumption that got us into this e-commerce fiasco in the first place), it’s also a mistake to assume that the business cycle has been repealed and that today’s bad times will go on forever. The latter assumption can lead to so much emphasis on cutting costs today that we forget that we’re also managers of the future.

We are familiar with a company whose former president (and founder) took it through significant short-term changes only to reverse or change his decisions months or even weeks later. The result was a swelling of employee distrust and despair. The upshot of their negative attitude was the formation of an informal vigilante group within the company. The group simply began to ignore the changes or bury them so deeply within the bureaucracy that they were never enacted.
We use a concept called Beliefs and Assumptions to help organizations not only improve quality and interactions but also focus on longer-term solutions and thus avoid the needless pain and suffering that result from short-term chaos.

In the course of everyday business, work is performed and results are achieved. If the actual results do not match the desired results, we apply a fix and try again in an effort to achieve better results. However, this do-the-work-get-the-results-adjust-do-the-work cycle can become very repetitive and tiring. Thus, the TQM and re-engineering evolutions were born.

By examining the systems and processes that drive the work, we can make changes earlier in the cycle to avoid many of the undesirable results without getting caught in the trap of having to constantly fix problems. However, if leaders really want to make sustainable changes, they must examine the underlying beliefs and assumptions that form the basis for the systems and processes. Having a system or process in place is one thing. But the key to success is having people who believe in the process and the importance of implementing it.

When leaders focus on sustainability, they bring peace and a semblance of meaning to change. Rather than relying on knee-jerk responses, such leaders bring peace by looking farther down the road and developing solutions that have lasting power.

Many times leaders want to “fix” problems, so they just do some more work. They tinker with the system rather than providing a lasting solution.

Peacemakers seek long-term solutions

They want to improve the quality of thinking and interactions, not just fix problems. To do this, leaders who make meaning out of chaos work on beliefs and assumptions. They seek to get to the root of an issue and therefore develop a longer-term solution. They are also unwavering in this approach; anything less will cause confusion or chaos within the organization.

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