In our book Reality, Perception and Your Workplace Culture I discussed the two views of the world that organizations have regarding problems. They either see them from looking in the mirror or looking out the window. They either see problems how they see the problems, or they see them as their customers see the problems.
I recently finished reding the Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power who quotes economist Albert Hirchman who suggests a different approach. He suggests that when we try and resolve an issue, we can either exit, voice or be loyal.
When we have a problem, you can always make the decision that the easiest way to resolve the issue is to ignore the problem. Continue the status quo as if no one told you there was a problem. Act as though the organization is the only one who knows how to deliver your product or service.
Given the existence of the problem you can also decide on the side of loyalty. Loyalty to the organization represented by the mirror scenario. Yes, there might be a problem, but it is not that big of a deal and everything will work out in the long run as long as the organization is operating. The problem is caused by that constantly complaining customer who no one likes If we look at the bottom line, we are still bringing in the sales so the demand is still there so we can feel the problem but just continue to operate as we have always done.
There is a population in your organization who wants to do better. There is a population in your organization who hears the pain that this problem is causing the customers and they want better, This the population who exercises their voice. This is the population who sees the problem, feels the problem and creates the new normal.
Listen to your senior management and they will tell you that in order to survive in this VUCA age we have to be innovative. We create innovation by improving our processes, We, improve our processes by getting involved in the process. By owning the process. Reality in the organizational way of life is to become part of the solution. Reality is that all levels of the organization must relate their feelings internally or through public channels. Reality is recognizing that the problem exists and becoming deeply involved in the cross-functional team that is trying to find the right solution. Reality means that you do your part to contribute to the change process. Reality means that all ideas matter. Reality means that improvement is not done by management edict but rather than by team work to find the solutions.
Want more information on this critical issue look at my Realty, Perception and Your Workplace Culture book