Damn that Hurts…
The trouble with pain is ignoring it. Toothaches begin as dull twinges. Tumors are coughs. Before long, fillings are root canals and tumors are death.
Pain is a slow sunrise, quiet. But, noon always comes. Listen to pain in the morning; don’t wait for noon.
Life without pain is death.
Leaders courageously listen for pains voice. Delay invites damage. Toothaches and tumors never magically go away. Pain is not the enemy. Invite it in for a chat. “Damn that hurts.”
The role of pain:
- Pain screams something’s wrong but doesn’t solve or correct.
- Pain points to symptoms not root problems.
- Pain is a consequence not a cause, at least at first.
- Pain succeeds when we look for causes and cures.
- Pain solves when stopping is enough.
- Everything that hurts isn’t bad.
“Just make it stop,” is a distraction. Leaders look through pain to find real issues.
Underperforming employees are the toothache, but the root problem may be organizational, for example. Correcting underperformers may provide surface solutions; developing organizations capacities provides deep cures.
You’re feeling dull aches that suggest intervention.
- Relational aches.
- Staff malfunctions.
- Inner dissatisfaction.
- Customer distress.
- Procedure failures.
- Point out pain-points and ask, “What’s behind this issue?”
- “Is it escalating or deescalating?”
- “Does this situation require intervention? Why or why not?”
- “What are you doing about it?”
- “How can I help?”
- “Can we solve this with current or new procedures?”
- “Tell me more next week.”
All leaders have stories of toothaches that turned to root canals and tumors that killed.
I’m not ready means it doesn’t hurt enough.
Leaders don’t address every issue; they give space for others to find solutions. However, leaders always monitor pain-points. Don’t pretend they’ll go away.
Do you tend to delay too long, act too quick, or move-in on pain-points at just the right moment?
How do you address pain-points?
I appreciate your perspective about pain. They seems to be our friends but once ignored, they turned to be enemies. I also believe that pain is a journey. It is a journey that reminds us about the success and better life. Pain invites progress. But there is a great space between pain and progress. We need to satisfy that pain in order to progress. It means, absence of pain is absence of progress. So, pain is the platform that induces effort and effort ensures success.
Here time is the deciding factors. Ideally, we say that a stitch in time saves nine, but the time is always not in our control. There are circumstances that delay the time. But given the situation, one need to act in time. Many a time, we do not know, what is in time what is out of time.That means it depends upon our feelings whether we really feel pain or not.
I think we need to understand pain-points first before addressing it. Pain-points that creates values, relationship and growth needs to be address fast. Pain-points that satisfy Ego, Arrogance or compare to demean others need not to be addressed at all, But the reality of the world is there are more people in second category and less in first.
Good thoughts Dan. God created the mechanism of pain in our bodies as an early warning system. It is the body’s way of saying, something’s wrong and needs attention.
Too often in the body and in organizations we reach for a “pain pill” which only masks the true problem.
Acknowledge pain, ferret out it’s cause, apply the proper remedy, and celebrate the healing.
“Captain, the shields are down; we’ve sustained damage to the lower decks; the bridge is in danger; the engine room is frozen; she canna take much more o’ this, Captain!”.
The Star Ship Enterprise and your enterprise; metaphors for one another? A church is not a building; your people are your business.
Where does that take us?
S. Covey: “don’t kill the geese that lay the golden eggs” (by over-working and under-enabling them or by letting them hiss at each other too much!).
Dan, as always, good stuff!
Reminds me that too often companies try to address the symptom, not the cause. I have made more than one comment in a meeting to that effect as it felt as though, to your point, people wanted to “just make it go away.”
Many times, I believe the action is based on trying to do something “quickly.” Much more could be accomplished long-term by doing so, but it doesn’t “feel” like things are being done as the diagnosis and treatment can require baby steps as opposed to sweeing changes.
How do I react to pain points?
I try and “get a read” on the person involved. How can this person be most effecitively approached? When is the right moment? What is just the right comment? Would the intervention work best coming from someone else? Someone closer and more trusted by the individual? Have I made enough positive emotional deposits in this person that our relationship can endure a redirection?
I’m come from a classroom teacher perspective so that my color my answer.
I see it as my job to build the realationship enough that the recipient will be able to receive the message. I want to alleviate the pain with my intervention not escalate it.
Once I am aware that there is pain, being in the medical field, I am pretty quick to diagnose it so that we can begin a treatment protocol. The difficult part can be when the patients are stoic and do not let on that they are in pain until it has escalated and we are in emergency mode. Have a great Sunday Dan
Look, the short version is:
1. Captain Kirk always listened to what Scotty had to say.
2. He’d ask if Scotty could fix it.
3. He’d let Scotty know what the constraints were (how long before the “Klingons” would attack (again) – read for “Klingons”, “client deadline”, “competition”, “exam date”, or what you will).
4. Scotty would respond – usually with “I’ll see what I can do”.
5. Scotty (almost every time) would out-perform his own, voiced, expectations.
Scotty was a seasoned professional. He was hand-picked. He had a track-record. Kirk knew him well. Kirk did +not+ put Scotty through a “competency” procedure when Scotty advised the engineering crew could not deliver what he wanted when he wanted it! Neither did Kirk give him a detention.
Kirk listened; Kirk challenged; Kirk listened; Kirk accepted and trusted.
How does my son put it (largely in relation to Christmas)? “You’ve got to believe if you want to receive”. I’d love to know the source of that one: a reminder that almost every parent I know believes in (delivering) Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy and a whole host of other things…
The trouble, I fear, is that those who are not involved in raising children (or children themselves) kind of lose track of the flow-through big picture. Just as with employees, they hear from peers and subordinates and themselves as well as those in authority. Ultimately those in authority (who’ve “been here and seen this”) have to use the authority; but maybe let them know it hurt a bit for them too – when they were faced with similar.
When it’s the Enterprise versus a fleet of Klingons. Learn from Kirk; and remember he pushes Enterprise and Scotty to the limit only because he believes in them both.
Reblogged this on willowcreeksa.
Dan, I could write a lot about this subject, but it’s Tuesday, this was written on Sunday, so we’ve all moved on. In my life I have finally learned to be able to “sit with my pain.” I have learned to linger a little longer and find out what it has to teach or tell me. This has been such a blessing, and something I wish I had been more aware of in my youth. Perhaps it is something that only comes with a certain maturity. Regardless, I would echo much of what you have said, and simple add that pain (physical, emotional, spiritual, or otherwise) is intended to give us pause. In that pause to take in, find out, explore, experience, meditate, take action, understand, learn, and be thankful it is there.
When I went through prostate cancer four years ago my prayer was, “teach me what it is I need to learn.” In that open posture I learned most how much God loves me by who he put around me during my time of healing. It was a humbling and amazingly affirming time. My guess is you might have a similar story from your accident.
Thanks for the reminder about the value of pain.
Good points. I work in behavioral health and it can be a real balancing act assisting both clients and peers when emotions are running high and staff are close to running on empty.
It was great to see the issue in relation with the pain to root cause management. It looks simple to read though dealing with human is tough. Thanks for sharing this perspective.