Open Doors, Closed Minds

Door_closed

This was a funny photo at the local Pot Belly eatery. 

Their side door (right off their main entrance) is wide open, yet they have these two large signs that say “Keep Closed” and “For your safety back door must be locked at all times.”

And inside this guy with a clipboard is schmoozing away–seemingly ignoring everything.

No delivery in sight either–maybe just the morning checkup on things.

So much for safety, following the rules, and probably good common sense.

It reminded me of a couple of things:

One is sort of the opposite of this scenario, where in the office, virtually every manager/leader purports to have an “open door” policy, yet really while their door may be open, their minds are closed.

They don’t really listen to what people are telling them–issues, solutions, new ideas–they have their own ideas about things, how they are and how they ought to be. The others don’t really matter to them, because they are in charge.

In this case emotional intelligence, social/interpersonal skills, communication abilities, and teamwork are all pretty low. Surprisingly or not, this is quite a lot of managers out there, I think.

The other thing this scene brought to mind is a related issue of access. Sometimes, we may try to get a briefing or presentation, or even just a discussion with superiors, but they always seem too busy.

Without acccess, we are limited in pushing new ideas and innovations up and out–it stops with the gatekeepers. With access, we can work together to make great ideas and solutions even better.

It’s interesting that access–such a simple thing you would imagine, is such a big deal. But it is common too that rather than dealing with new ideas or difficult issues, managers may simply find it easier to simply not deal with “the noise.”

This is the equivalent of grade school, where you put the fresh-mouthed student in the corner, facing the wall, with a tall pointy dunce cap on their head–until they and everyone else gets the message that this not someone of significance. See them, laugh at them, then ignore them.

Access is another word for you mean something or you don’t, in your bosses mind, at least, and in how they communicate about you to others.

Lose access and you are in the wilderness and maybe will starve to death and die. Gain access and you have an opportunity to influence things for the positive–live and let others thrive.

Are you relevant or dead–is the door open–really or is it just a show.

Your job as a leader and follower is too figure out how to open doors all around you, to bridge divides, communicate what you really think in a way that can be heard, influence the way forward, and make people feel–really feel–that they are heard, that they do have something important to say and contribute, and that everyone is valuable.

Door open or closed–your mission is the same.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

One response to “Open Doors, Closed Minds

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