The walls

 

In the work that you do, are you more of a Wall builder or Passage facilitator?

When you look around, we’re surrounded by walls, limitations. Wherever we live. There are the tangible, visible ones. Berlin had its wall. Hungary has built its own along the refugee crisis. Some cities have railroad tracks acting like a wall between a poor and richer neighborhood. Then, there are invisible walls. The computerized call-handling systems, the lengthy admin forms and processes, countless checks and rechecks, annexes in fine prints, long lists of restrictions/exceptions, vague answers, unrelated justifications and inexplicable radio silences. Different “Man built” obstacles that hold us back when all we want is to solve a problem and keep on moving forward. More importantly, when we want to take a chance, to grab an opportunity passing by. One we believe can improve our life, like a better job.

Whenever we come across an invisible wall, it often seems to have enhanced powers. Taking us aback the 1st time, making us feel a little lost. Getting us to worry if we can make it through. After a while, that feeling grows into impatience. Right before we get angry, after too long. The worst part being when such walls drain us to the point where we feel exhausted, demoralized and somehow powerless. For some people it’s enough to decide in settling for less than what first got them started. When not choosing a completely different goal instead. Because there are no apparent “better solution/option” at hand.

In a better-job seeking context, recruitment processes are a good example of that kind of walls these days.

MR & MRS NO

Some people are experts at building walls, at acting like one too. Some are good as well in maintaining or reinforcing already existing ones. They are “Mr & Mrs No”, as I call them.

They add unnecessary layers of complexity to what, otherwise, could be made easier. Like requiring that all job applications be made online, using a format that feels nothing but not-welcoming and non-user friendly. Like asking “Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?” during a job interview at a grocery store, for instance. [1] Or “How do you get an elephant in a fridge? ” when you applied at a digital security firm. [2]

At some point, while trying to find a way through, you start wondering. “Is reaching my goal of _______ (fill in the blank) using that particular path with that particular company really worth the efforts I’m putting in? (…) Could my time and energy be better spent while taking another ‘road leading to Rome’ instead?

THE RARELY CONFESSED GOAL BEHIND USING A WALL

When such questioning comes to mind, it’s usually a sign that a given-wall is reaching a rarely confessed and addressed goal behind using one: to keep people away from the Grail it’s supposed to protect.

That Grail is usually something valuable like time, information, money or freedom of choice/action. Eastern-Berliners had to live with that type of wall. Unhappy clients of phone service providers or insurance companies (among others) sometimes have to deal with corporate walls too.

In a job seeking context, walls will keep you from talking 2 minutes with a recruiter – or even receiving an email from one – to know why your profile didn’t make the cut for the 2nd interview at that company. Even if that same company first asked you to spend about 45 minutes to fill in an online job application, then answer an over-the-phone interview, then come in for a 1st in-person one.

THEN, THERE ARE THE PASSAGE FACILITATORS

At the opposite of the Wall builders, there are people who seem to have this ability for opening doors. To be some sort of “Passage facilitators”.

For sure the context in which they work has its share of policies, requirements and quality control processes. Yet, when interacting with these facilitators, it doesn’t feel like “we’ve got something better to do than helping you”. Instead, you feel they genuinely care about what they can do to actually help you.

Because when they are presented with a problem, they spend most of their time looking for leverage points and solution paths. So you can solve the problem you have (in the best way possible), and keep on moving forward. Passage facilitators don’t always succeed at helping others. At least they try. More importantly, they let you know about it and even offer alternatives, when possible.

As a result, it lets you know where you stand. It doesn’t leave you in the dark. Which makes a huge difference in any decision making.

As solution path finders, Passage facilitators can make a huge (positive) difference in other people lives.  Whereas, by adding layers of complexitybricks, Mr & Mrs No tend have a negative one and, consequently, isolate themselves over time.

When you look at the work you do and how you serve your colleagues or customers, do you tend to put up barriers or gateways on their path? Asked differently, are you more of a Passage facilitator or Wall builder?

Signature PF