Early in your career? Wondering why things take so long to materialize and get better? Can I tell you a story about 6 years?
Last month, I had three separate instances where people/organizations I worked with directly, come to a conclusion I had pointed out 6-8 years ago. Not just pointed out at the time, but insisted, Mandalorian style, "this is the way". I used the data and existing feedback to guide us towards what I thought set us up for success. At the time, I was overruled - some more severely than others - due to other wants and needs. So what changed? What happened? I started to dig into this a bit.
This was new data to me, in a way I had not experienced. I mean really, when was the last time you heard about something you did 5+ years ago making any kind of impact or change? This was also a bit exciting and made a pit stop to look at which kind of trap I was experiencing. Was it:
- Hindsight bias (see, see, I was right!)
- Confirmation bias (my advice was dead on)
- Actor-Observer (they didn't understand)
- Mandela Effect (remembering it wrong)
- Fundamental Attribution Error maybe? (making up a story)
In case you are wondering, yes, I have these biases written down with a short summary for times when I come across moments like these - like a cheat sheet …yet these instances felt different and didn't align with any of them. Being it was an outcome I had pushed for years ago, but wasn't until now that it was … understood? Appreciated? Internalized? Was this simply the time necessary for Bloom's Taxonomy to take shape? 6+ years? really!? That's the time it takes to get a doctorate or professional degree. What the hell!?
It would certainly be easier for pure cynicism to take over -- "I told you so!" … it can't be that, the time difference was so great and I'm sure the statute of limitations ran out for such lazy conclusions. And this was a call out, without a trace of regret or anything as petty as "I should've listened". Again, more questions.
Insert the cliché … and then it hit me. Ok, it didn't hit me, I ended up talking about it enough and sorting through the whole thing to finally come up with something that made too much sense.
The motivations had changed.
They had moved to different ...things, different culture, different environment, different goals. Therefore, their experience in approaching, dealing with, and solving the problems had changed with it. I've heard over the years companies being asked "Why are you here? Why do you exist?" Most of it is a spew of pure, total bullshit — a weak attempt to create a collection of words, lacking merit and any tangible meaning to have people smile and nod during speeches. It's no different than a player who is brilliant on one team be completely terrible on another.
Now, this is way clearer to me than ever in meaning, importance, belonging and seriousness. My mistake? I had missed the mark entirely on how to convey how fundamental this is. So now, selfishly, I don't want it to take another 6+ years for others to really appreciate ...which is something I have to work on. How far would they be along if I was able to get that message across? What would they have accomplished?