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Open letter to the stakeholders

Good morning. Have you catch our editions of the TLS Continuum Toolbox Newsletter over the past two weeks? In this last of the installments of the series I want to address the elephant in the room- your role as the stakeholder.

You perceive that you have a problem, and it is up to us to resolve it. You call the CEO and tell him you have problem, and it needs to ne resolved now or you are going to take your business elsewhere. You want the problem resolved then you are the ones who play a critical role in the TLS Continuum to resolve the problem. To give it due emphasis let’s review these obligations as suggested in the book Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge:

Obligation 1: Suppression of your assumptions

I get it. We operate in two worlds simultaneously. On one hand we look at the problem as if we were looking in a mirror. We see the problem from the world as we see it. The other side of the coin is as if we were looking at the problem out of a window. To do the latter we have to give up our assumptions. We must give up the blame game. Just because we see a problem does not mean we know what is at fault. Notice I did not say who, but I said what. The social psychologist, Douglas McGregor defined these views in his Theory development as to the paths we travel. In his Theory X, McGregor tells us that people are basically lazy so if we ask them to resolve a problem, they will mess it up further. McGregor’s Theory Y suggests that if someone messes up it is the fault of the structure or organization(s) around them. The TLS Continuum suggests there is a third theorem if you will that suggests that if there is a problem the cause is the process itself. No one did anything wrong. We can’t blame the individual involved when the problem lies within the way the process is run.

What we expect from you as a stakeholder is to suppress the tendency to assume you know what the problem is when you tell an organization that you have a problem. Professor Richard Feynman of Princeton summed it up best when he said, “I cannot define the problem, therefore I suspect no real problem, but I am not sure there is no problem.” We only learn what the true nature of the problem when we experiment to find the root causes.

Have an open mind as to the reasons why the problem exists and be open to being part of the solution.

Obligation 2: Acting as colleagues.

We are all in this together. Do not expect that just because you have complained about the problem that it will get fully resolved without your input. Give us your time and sweat and join in the process. Not as an onlooker but as an active member of the cross-functional team effort. The other members of the team are not your enemies. They have just as high an interest in solving the problem as you do. Enter the team function to have a dialogue not a discussion as to the nature of the problem, do yourself and the other participants a favor and if you can’t get involved, don’t but then don’t complain that you had no input into the solution.

Obligation 3: Enter a spirit of inquiry.

I do not care what your role is. We are in today’s business marketplace all human capital management scientists. We question everything. We resolve issues through experimentation. If you are willing to become involved in the experimentation there are several phrases that need to get out of your organizational lexicon: It is not my job.

That is not how we do it here. Think back to when you were a child and remember how you used to enjoy tinkering with things. Bring that sense of inquiry back to your experiments to resolve organizational process issues.

When we combine the role of the CEO, the cross-functional team, and your role as the stakeholder we develop a powerful trio that can successfully locate, identify the cause and resolve the system constraints to resolve any problem. As the third party of the trio, you have a critical role to play. Exercise that role. Learn how to be an active not passive player in the process. Instead of being the staid member of the process become the process rebel. Be open to listening, learning, and trying new ways to resolve organizational problems. Who knows, it might be exciting for oyu to get out of the office and get your hands dirty in resolving the problem. Add to that the benefit of learning something new about yourselves and the other process partners you work with on a daily basis.

Did we pique your interest, feel free to reach out to us if you would like to discuss this idea further at


Next Week: What is Your Value Proposition?


About the author: Daniel Bloom knows HR and Change Management. He’s a speaker on transformational HR, a strategic HR consultant and trainer. Looking to ways to enhance your vale to your organization? We now offer virtual fully accredited six-sigma yellow belt certification training. Learn more at