Appearances can differ greatly from reality:

  • The program manager could only focus on the details (which made it very hard to have conversations about the big picture).
  • The employee right out of college could see the big picture (but the people above him didn’t listen to his ideas).
  • The HR director was not a people person (but loved getting into people’s business).
  • Another guy was a people person and was friends with everyone (but was mediocre at his job).
  • It was a shock when the popular VP switched firms (but we all knew that he had hit his ceiling).
  • The employee that leaves early every day keeps getting promoted (but no one realized she was working into the night, every night).
  • The firm has a new culture statement, but the same leadership is in place (so things will likely stay the same).

Workplaces have underlying complexities and contradictions where employees’ true contributions or abilities are not always visible or valued. This is what makes creating change so hard. There’s so much beneath the surface.

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