Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dependent--Independent Trap

Steven Covey has a belief system that says that people are either Dependent, Independent or Interdependent. The ideal business culture is interdependent. In that environment, people are able to stand on their own two feet but also collaborate with each other to find the best outcomes.

From my experience, it is the trap of going back and forth between being dependent and independent that is so devastating to businesses. When a person constantly needs to be helped to do his job, he quickly begins to fear being exposed and will hide. It's natural--I don't think people feel I'm cutting it, I'm going to keep my head down and wait it out.
The truth is that sooner or later, it will be impossible to hide this. And it's better sooner to get feedback, help and support from others--which is being interdependent. But that's counter-intuitive--why let everyone know I'm having problems? I'll just get in trouble for that.

Ideally, you work at a company where the culture welcomes failure as a way to learn and grow. But if you're not in that idyllic setting, you have a choice:
Keep my head down or raise my hand for help
While either one could result in failure, the first option is guaranteed to fail in the long run.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

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