Sunday, July 6, 2014

Digging Deep for Progress

So I would like to preface this blog with a confession of sorts... I will be completely honest with you all... I LOVE the movie Titanic. Just keep that in mind throughout this post.
As I began this journey in life I think back to the movie and begin to analyze the risk the iceberg posed to the ship and its passenger. I think about the possible outcome if warnings had been heeded ,and greed and arrogance not determined the fate of the ship.  Then I turn to my own life and the ship I lead in my personal and professional life. Then thinking of the icebergs that pose a risk to my ship and all who are vested in its journey. Another one of my favorite organizational psychology ideas, to learn more click here.

The iceberg principle, as applied to my own life, is the notion that we must invest more in a deeper and wider understanding of human interactions with one another. The technical Buisness definition is the "observation that in many (if not most) cases only a very small amount (the 'tip') of information is available or visible about a situation or phenomenon, whereas the 'real' information or bulk of data is either unavailable or hidden. The principle gets its name from the fact that only about 1/10th of an iceberg's mass is seen outside while about 9/10th of it is unseen, deep down in water." Now are you starting to see where Titanic comes into play... :)

Originally this was the approach I would have loved to have seen taken to diversity and inclusion. But as I progressed through my career and began to explore other areas of human resources I found that this idea is the foundation for many of our interactions with other people. In Human Resources as a function and strategic partner of the business it is an inevitable that we will interact with the people of the organization. (Because as in HR professional our dealings are truly with the human assets of the organization.) The application of the iceberg principle is to begin to understand what lies below the surface. The ultimate goal is to successfully navigate the waters of business and uncertainty, with the best understanding of what is potentially in front of us and what is to come. Because many times what we see at face value is not all of the data, information, or understanding that we need to make a decision that will minimize risk. 

However we are incapable of successfully navigating these situations without the understanding of human characteristics. The focus needs to shift from results and superficial behaviors to a deeper knowledge of the situation or person. The most critical aspects and dangerous parts of the iceberg, or human characteristics, is what lies below the surface. What needs to be implemented is a conscious effort to look a little bit deeper in our business dealings, especially those decisions that involve an organizations human assets. Developing a culture in which a strong level of deep understanding is created; thus driving an environment in which we successfully navigating around difficult situations we encounter. 

Now we will not be able to predict situations or circumstances with prophetic like foresight, but we will be able to control what we know and we can understand through adequate investigation and strong critical thinking. This opportunity won't always be available on short notice, but a solid attempt should be made to gather as much information as possible, again to minimize risk.

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