The Fog of Business

Admit it, you have sat in a meeting wondering about what the other people are thinking. You glance around the room, keeping your cards close to your vest. You pontificate, posture, sabre rattle, and put up a facade to mislead colleagues.

Why?!

I’ll tell you why: You think that others are out to get you.

It’s understandable, business can easily be looked at a clandestine, cutthroat way to spend your Monday through Friday. The truth is, business doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, the best run business aren’t! Trust can be hard to find on the corporate ladder and even harder to find among the entry level ranks.

The Fog of War has been spoken about by generals, infantry and every rank in between. In its essence it’s the confusion of the chaos around you. There’s a fear and anxiety surrounding the stress of the situation. Worrying if you can trust the person next to you or even your own instincts.

The business world can be the same. Our skepticism, suspicion take hold and make us presumptuous and withheld.

I have to confess, I’ve been in this situation. Years ago I worked in an organization that was unbelievably toxic. This place was so trust barren that I even suspected my own manager of systematically and vindictively working to remove me. I rarely told him the full truth of situations with clients and I often worked specifically towards deceiving him. Months went by and once things came to light he was let go. As it turns out, his paranoia had hugely and negatively impacted our business unit. We had become one of the least productive entities in the organization and it was due to the fear and distrust that had been sewn into our culture.

With his departure, they chose a new manager who was open and brimming with enthusiasm. Our attitudes shifted and our numbers recovered over the next 6 months. I grew to appreciate, respect, and befriend the manager. He taught me some invaluable lessons about being open, honest, and passionate about the work in front of you. I’ve carried these into every role I have had since.

There was once thing that I learned that I will never forget. I’ve never failed to remember how it felt to fear those around me.

Trust is a covenant between you and the people around you. If you want to create the most productive and collaborative environment possible, trust is essential. We have to move beyond the Fog of Business. We have to start trusting, confiding, and believing in each other.

Don’t let the Fog of Business hinder your ability to collaborate.

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