T214: Activity 5.8 – analysing your messy situation

This activity asks me to think about the messy situation I’ve chosen for my assignments (Marconi’s descent into bankruptcy) by thinking about my feelings around that time. The question is:

Are there any aspects of the situation that you feel critical or guilty about, or where you attribute blame to others?

Superficially, I could rant along at length about certain people on the Marconi board who ruined the company (and I would be justified in doing so) but as I’m trying to learn some academic points from this exercise I need to approach it with a clear, unranty mind.

The thinking is this: criticism of others is often grounded in tension within ourselves, something subconscious that we’re not willing to accept. There’s an emotional aspect to being critical of others (rather than just corrective) that demonstrates something within us that we may not be aware of. If we can determine why we’re being critical in any particular situation then we can take a more balanced approach to solving whatever tension is causing us to be critical in the first place.

I’m finding it difficult to find my own failings or faults in this mess. I’m critical of the old Marconi board because they were incompetent idiots that ruined a profitable company. How am I going to discover my own tensions in this situation?

Well, I guess I could start with my disappointment at suffering such upheaval at the hands of others. I was an employee at a large company, the company ends up in a mess and my job suddenly becomes less secure. Perhaps I relied too heavily on the security of the company? Perhaps I was more upset that my job prospects were suddenly going down the toilet than I should have been?

Apparently, there are four steps to thinking about this:

The key steps in approaching criticalness in oneself are:
1 Notice as precisely as you can what exactly it is that you are critical of
2 Reflect on when you have done, or wanted to do, something similar
3 Recognize the aspect of yourself that you are not accepting that lies at the root of your criticalness
4 Work on accepting this aspect of yourself or modifying your own behaviour.

Hmmmm, let me see. What am I being critical of? The utter incompetence of those in charge? Their disregard for common sense and “all eggs in one basket” approach? Their greed when they took golden goodbyes and left the company? All these things.

I can’t say I’ve ever wanted to ruin a perfectly good company but I suppose I have to concede that George Simpson and co didn’t actually do it on purpose. I am not a manager of people or institutions; I’m no good at it and I don’t want to do it, although I suppose I could own up to my own weaknesses. I’m sure that running a company isn’t an easy thing to do and the Marconi board were far more qualified than me to do it. I’ve also never, ever wanted to run my own company.

What aspect of myself am I not accepting? I have no idea, so I’ll have to think on that. Perhaps there isn’t anything? This whole idea that criticism comes from failures in ourselves could be utter rubbish. At this point in time I don’t think I’m being entirely unjustified in blaming George Simpson and John Mayo for the destruction of Marconi. They were in charge, they made the decisions, it was their fault.

I don’t think this was the “correct” answer to this activity. I might post something in the forum to getting different perspectives.


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