The Essence of a Roadblock


When I began thinking of names for this blog…and my company, much of what I saw in organizations was very committed employees that were getting frustrated.  Not because they did not like the work they were doing, in fact that they wanted to do it better, but something (or someone) in the organization kept getting in the way.  The quintessential “roadblock.”

Now often people hear this and think a roadblock prevents your progress and quite often for a time, it does, but merely until people find a detour.  And employees are particularly industrious at finding “work arounds.”  Some of my situational coaching has been helping people explore, navigate, and often create these “work arounds.”  And as I began to think about it, how much energy do we waste finding detours to get where we are going?  If you have ever been caught off guard by an actual roadblock on your commute to work, I am sure you have experienced the frustration.  And even when the roadblock is temporary (accident, stuck vehicle, etc.) people tend to prefer movement to standing still, so we zig and zag our way through backstreets (often simply following the masses) in an effort to circumnavigate the “challenge”.  Have you ever calculated what that adds to your commute, or determined how much fuel you wasted, frustration you encountered, stress it caused?  What if that happened at a new spot every day, or even every week, on your way to work?  And for some people, that is what they deal with at work: roadblock, work around, roadblock, work around.  No wonder BlessingWhite finds a quarter of the North American workforce either frustrated into resignment or simply following the pack and spinning their wheels (BlessingWhite 2011 Global Engagement Survey).

Thus, PeakAlignment, LLC. was born.  Organizational roadblocks typically occur when either the destination is not fixed (no long term vision), the infrastructure is a tangled mess of roads (systems do not support movement towards the end goal or are developed in isolation from other interdependent systems), or the people at the head of the pack either get in the way or are not skilled (poor leadership).  When these three things work in concert with each other, it is more like a freeway.  Sure, things can clog up due to an accident here and there or a periodic shortage of resources to handle the “traffic” of work, but it wastes far less energy, causes far less stress, and usually gets you there much faster than navigating workarounds on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.  And don’t cars get far better mileage, suffer fewer maintenance issues, and last longer on the highway than on the stop-and-go tangled web of city streets?  Employees do to.

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