In business, we often talk about actions we take and the “unintended consequences” of those actions. That phrase is a curious one because, in many instances, it’s really just another way of saying, “we didn’t think it all the way through” without, you know, actually admitting that we didn’t think something all the way through.

The user of this phrase is seeking to deflect or avoid responsibility for his or her actions, or for a poor result. In some organizations, unfortunately, this skill is actually more important than getting work done.

Mastery, particularly in communicating, seeks to anticipate, understand and address all the consequences, intended and unintended. 

So let’s just call unintended consquences what they are — errors, shortcuts, and cheap leadership.

AuthorJoseph Fusco
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Are you or your organization, company or political candidate looking for a “message”? Are you feeling the need to “get the message out”? Are you sitting around in meetings, facing a crisis or problem, asking, “what’s our message?”

Well, stop it.

There is no discernable market among human beings — employees, customers, the public — for “messages.” Nobody is looking or hungry for messages. People want the truth.

People want a relationship. They want to be talked to honestly, with humility and without agenda or “spin.”

Organizations love the illusion of control. Crafting a “message” implies you have control over what people will think and how they’ll react. You don’t. The only control you have is whether or not you’re honest, humble, love or care about people, and whether or not you’re living your values, beliefs and your mission.

The worst message is half a truth.

AuthorJoseph Fusco

As a company — any organization, really — grows larger, it seeks to maintain order, control and predictability in the “cheapest” way possible: by building a bureaucracy, a mechanistic system of rules, processes, procedures and policies.

At this point it has essentially bought into a lie — that it’s not possible to have order and clarity by trusting, motivating and inspiring people to organize themselves to solve problems at a high level of mastery to deliver the results the organizations wants and needs.

Or, even if it believes it’s possible, it also usually believes it’s too hard, messy, complex and unpredictable.

In other words, too costly.

AuthorJoseph Fusco

Human nature is flawed. We are not gods, or God, by any stretch of the imagination.

And so we drag our imperfections and our flaws to our work, our relationships, and our organizations. They show up in how we treat each other, and treat ourselves. They show up in the decisions we make. They guide what we value, and what we dismiss. 

I see a lot of leaders struggle to hide or lie to themselves about their imperfections and flaws, afraid that those flaws disqualify them to lead.

Great leaders waste no such energy. Great leaders embrace their imperfections as a fact of life, an inescapable feature of human nature. They understand that being imperfect and being ineffective are not the same thing. 

Great leaders aren’t perfect — they’re effective. They simply don’t allow their own personal flaws to destroy the effectiveness and motivation of others. Leadership, in many ways, is about getting ourselves and others where we need to go in spite of our imperfections. 

More simply, we must work daily to rob our imperfections of the power to make us ineffective.

Our success in life and work — and, ultimately, our happiness — depends on our ability to transcend our flaws, not to reach some unattainable state of perfection, but to get things done well, and move others to get things done well.

AuthorJoseph Fusco