“Knowing where the trap is- that’s the first step in evading it.” Frank Herbert
In Outsmarting the Seven Hidden Obstacles to Success, David Covey and Stephan Mardyks identify the seven modern workplace traps, our typical response to each, and a better response. All numbers and percentages are the result of their research. The first three traps are individual-focused, the next three traps are team-focused, and the last trap is organization-focused.
Let’s first look at the team-focused traps.
- The Trigger Trap, allowing emotion to taint your perspective because we: (a) want to control the unpredictable nature of life; (b) ruminate on interactions and people we can’t control; or (c) generalize our past experiences to today’s circumstances.
The conventional response is to either aggressively confront or avoid situations and people that set us off because we are hardwired for fight or flight reactions in our nervous system as a residual survival need. The epiphany breakthrough is to create a strategy to broaden our perspective so we can live and let live.
- The Silo Trap is operating as an independent while on a team because we: (a) believe our way of doing things is superior to that of our work associates; (b) fail to shift our mindset from “me” to “we” when working on a team; or (c) believe that working with others will slow us down.
The conventional response is to focus on things we agree on, and minimize or ignore differences. (Although 95% of workers agree that teams have an important role in the workplace, 76% say they do not like working together with their colleagues.) The epiphany breakthrough is to realize that we get better results when we work together and foster a mutual vision.
- The Settling Trap, losing passion and inspiration in our professional work because we: (a) become financially dependent on our paycheck; (b) are uninspired at work; or (c) fall into a career comfort zone. Apparently, 85% of workers worldwide report feeling disengaged.
The conventional response is to believe that it doesn’t matter what we are doing as long as we are making money. However, beyond a livable income, higher income is neither the road to happiness nor the road to the relief of unhappiness and stress. The epiphany breakthrough is to do professional work that encompasses the four dimensions of a successful career: financials (what does fair compensation mean to you?); ideas (what are you bringing to the table?); passion (what gets you up in the morning?); and purpose (what contribution can you make?).
There is one organization-focused trap:
The Myopia Trap, failing to see the big picture because we: (a) focus on things we can’t control; (b) fail to see where our role fits in the organizational strategy; or (c) equate position with power.
The conventional response is to do our job and not create waves. The epiphany breakthrough is that our value extends beyond our position, so be an indispensable contributor.
Can you recognize yourself falling into one or more of these traps?
May your learning be sweet.