At any given time, in this vast country, there’s a household scramble that occurs.
The phone rings.
Then, all of a sudden, someone becomes the self-appointed household general and starts issuing orders to “throw this away,” “make your bed,” “get dressed,” “wash the dishes,” “hide the laundry,” and “clear the clutter off the dining room table.”
Why the mad dashes?
Well, of course, it is because “company is coming.”
By the time company does arrive, everyone shows up perfectly styled, with a forcibly-relaxed smile, sitting around their clutter-free table as if this was their normal, everyday dinner, which, of course, contains a full spread of homemade goodness.
The harried family has suddenly transformed into the perfect dinner host.
That is the perception.
But the reality is that most families are busy. Dinner may or may not happen around the table, and the food is likely take-out. Family members don’t come to the table perfectly coiffed, and there aren’t always smiles.
The house isn’t always perfect, but the family is still family.
Homes are not the only places this company face / family face paradox occurs.
It happens in businesses and other organizations every day as well.
“Great! We’re doing great!”
“Does anyone have questions or concerns about this proposal?”
“No, everything looks good!”
And the most infamous of all…
“Everyone in favor…”
You see, every business has a company face, complete with polite nods, forced smiles, and uncontroversial words. It’s what they present to the world and to their teams. It is even a face they try to show to themselves.
The company face can reveal itself in go-along-to-get-along meetings. These are meetings where no one asks questions or voices dissent. These can be mistaken for wonderful team meetings because no one disagrees.
But that’s the problem. No one disagrees!
The Problem with the Company Face
The problem with the company face is that it is not genuine and sustainable all the time.
Sooner or later, a team reveals its true family face.
Now, this is not a bad thing. It is good to feel at home and be comfortable and familiar with the people who are there. But in every family, there will be times of disagreement, disgruntlement, and issues that must be addressed. This is just part of being a family, and the conflict of having to work through issues – together – is a good foundation for solving issues throughout life.
If you have an executive or departmental meeting and everyone rubber stamps every idea, this is not a good thing. Consensus is not always a good thing. There are times when you need to hear the challenging viewpoints, discuss issues, and develop solutions – because if you don’t challenge the idea, your customers will.
Case in point. A multi-billion-dollar corporation’s leader proposed to manufacture a certain product when the source materials were at their highest levels. “Costs will be exponentially high,” he acknowledged, “but we will be producing a needed product while our competition is cutting back. This gives us a chance to increase our market share.”
That one move ended up taking the company into a death spiral from which it could not recover.
Later, several Board members confessed to having doubts about the idea; but, rather than dissent, they, along with the others, uttered, “Aye,” and it was carried. They put on their company faces.
Members of teams put on company faces all the time. It is easier to act polite and force a smile than it is to confront a situation and resolve a difficult issue.
What these team members don’t realize is that growth comes through conflict. Being able to express dissent gives you a voice around the table and a chance to make a difference. It also creates teams that become “more like family.” And, yes, this means family faces will appear – familiarity and comfort, but also conflict and some discomfort.
But here’s the thing: when a company that is like family faces opposition, they will band together and resolve the issue as one.
When “company faces” encounter opposition, they divide. Issues do not get resolved, and everyone is affected adversely.
Does your business have a company face or a family face?
Are your people…
- Comfortable with conflict?
- Concerned with the welfare of others?
- Able to dissent but stay connected?
- Grounded in trust?
- Genuine in their exchanges?
- Enjoying learning and growing together?
- Enabled to voice their opinions around the table?
For more resources on how you can increase communication, collaboration, and leadership across your organization, click here to learn about the Communication Impact Report and Workshop for leaders and their teams.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer, and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, and using the Maxwell Method, Deb helps leaders and teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.