Sometimes an Evader is born. Sometimes an Evader is made.
In the spectrum of success and failure, The Evader one who is doing all they can to avoid failure and not one bit concerned with seeking success.
Before you judge the Evader’s motives, I have three semi-rhetorical questions:
- How many times does your success not be recognized before you don’t care about it anymore?
- How many times does an organization attempt to prove your success was not one before you quit trying?
- How frequently do you simply wish to be “off the radar?”
The life of the Evader is a slippery slope and can be enabled through organizational climate.
There are so many stories of organizations trying to do the right thing, but end up creating a whole systemic group of Evaders.
The company that has the top five worst performers and the top five best performers work together to find solutions and both groups have to develop and overly complex presentation and documentation. Why does the top performer have to do all the work of the worst performer?
The company that forces all annual reviews to be in a bell curve. The lowest get fired, the highest get to participate in an inquisition on why they deserve the honor.
The company that has meetings to discuss low performers only to change the metrics at random to make sure everyone “has an opportunity to improve.”
The company that claims to be a “learning organization” only to call every non-success a complete failure publically. Where learnings have to be defended with the utmost passion and authority.
The company that requires that your good idea has to be the good idea of your boss and boss’s boss or it means nothing.
In safety, the company that wants compliance but nothing more.
Each of these scenarios creates a culture that seeks refuge in the middle. The best are punished right alongside the worst. It’s a different punishment, but it is still an organization method to not have to reward those that are actually seeking success.
Ultimately, the Evader is a direct result of their motivation. There are extrinsic and intrinsic motivators. Extrinsic motivators are those things that are outside of our control yet have a relatively minor impact. While intrinsic motivation is very personal, hard to change and make a big impact on us.
I find myself, at times, falling into the mold of The Evader. It is easy to do when intrinsic motivation is low and the perceived extrinsic motivation is high. It is through self-reflection and calibration that changes can be made. Here are my tips to make that mental shift back into success seeking rather than failure avoiding.
- Focus on your intrinsic values/motivation
- Do you believe in a higher power? If so, is our work not to serve that rather than a company? We should do our utmost with what we are given.
- How would your family, friends, those that you respect feel about your current performance?
- You have something/ are someone to be proud of! Make your personal brand mean something. Don’t let someone, some organization, or something take that away from you. You are the only you there is. You bring something wonderful to the company. Don’t let them dim the light you shine.
- Calibrate the extrinsic motivations
- Talk to someone you trust in the organization and see if they see the same issues you do. Maybe it is just a perspective issue and not an organizational one.
- When encountering negative stimulus to learnings or positive items, professionally point out how they are good. Emphasize what works and how to sustain it.
- Never miss a chance to talk about what you do well. Keep that 30-second elevator speech ready and keep it current to the great things you are doing.
Each day we have the choice to make on how we engage the day . . . hour . . . situation . . . moment. As safety professionals, there are real and personal consequences to what we do. We must keep trying to keep our motivation up. Even though our work may not be recognized, we must remind ourselves constantly that our work is for a greater good.
It sounds sappy, but it is true. Take pride in what you do each day to make our workplaces and homes safer.
Here is a copy of the live feed for the presentation “Creating Meaning in Safety Training” from May 8, 2019 in Louisville KY.
Jump to 16 minutes for the presentation to actually start.
Thanks again to all those who supported me through this process.
I will be live from the TN Safety Congress in July for those who are interested.
My warmest appreciation and thanks to everyone who was able to be present and watch the live stream of the presentation. It was such a great honor for me to share my work with you today. As promised here is a link to the presentation: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/gnw3uzdpt9vkzq9/AADsTc_IDJ0-DM1rSLwBN8coa?dl=0
Hopefully in the next few weeks my dissertation will also be publish officially and I can share that also 🙂
Success and failure seem like such simple ideas, but the way that we engage those two terms as safety people and as leaders make a big difference in the way our organization functions. The views in which the leaders take toward success and failure drastically shape the landscape in which we operate. It is a key influencer in work patterns and overall cultural climate. Those that lead have to be aware of how their decisions affect those that are around them. Their methods shape the way that their people will engage issues at the functional level. In safety, it is ever so critical that we are always seeking how we can improve our processes, so that we create methods to protect our people.
Hopefully, the success and failure exercise helped to gain some insight to your team and how they think about those terms. It should have also help to see who is working toward success and who is avoiding failure. Their answers can be very informative in how they perceive their work, your leadership, and the overall culture of the organization. The answers lead to the four categories of the team in regards to failure or success, superstar, accepter, evader, and burnout.
Everyone wants the superstar as part of their team. This is the one who is willing to make a mistake, but not from negligence. They are seeking better knowledge out of their desire to find the most successful route. I recently finished the book by *Amy C Edmonson called “The Fearless Organization.” In the book, there is a discussion about the types of failure, preventable, complex, and intelligent. Your superstar is making intelligent failures. These are ones categories by “forays into new territory.” They are measuring the risk and taking calculated steps into the unknown for the betterment of the organization.
The superstars are those who are always seeking success. They know through calculated failures and risk that they can learn and improve. As a manager, it a duty to allows these team members to explore and experiment. From my experience, those that create barriers or discourage the process are not usually the direct manager. It will be those that control other facets of the organization. It is our duty to help shield them and assure they get the resources they need to continue excelling in what they do. This is where being a servant leaders is best applied. Be a resource for the superstar and help them feel secure and able to get their best work done.
*Check out the book here from Amazon.com: https://amzn.to/2Hfsmo1