The Painful Truth – 3 Reasons Why We WaitOne of the hardest things about chronic pain is that only you know how bad the pain feels. There’s no blood test that can show much you’re suffering. There’s often no outward sign, like a bandage or a cast. There’s just the pain. No doubt you’ve seen this chart – most likely at your doctor’s office or hospital – showing a series of numbered cartoon faces moving from 0 (smiling and pain-free) to 10 (weeping in agony.) This relatively simple tool helps physicians get a better sense of just how their patients are feeling. But did you know that a staggering 80% of U.S. patients don’t seek medical attention until their pain levels are at an 8+? Could it really be that despite injury or illness, people will wait until they are in severe pain before getting help? Why is it that the human condition as a whole, waits until the last possible moment – until we can no longer bear the agony – before we take action? We’re aren’t doctors, nor do we “play them” at work. But we are fascinated by this odd parallel to the corporate condition that unless things are terrible, awful and agonizing, we won’t make a change.
- It’s not that bad.
Things are fine. Ok, so things aren’t great, but they aren’t horrible, right? It’s amazing how much mediocrity we’ll tolerate and pain we’ll endure. But beware. Allowing MEDIOCRITY to creep into the workplace culture means that eventually your workplace will be sick, weak and may just die before its time.
- It will get better on its own.
Slap a band-aid on it and it’ll just take care of itself. Really? Employee apathy, disengagement and non-existent change management….those issues just naturally solve themselves, right? Wrong. Pain just breeds more pain and discomfort, making it that much more difficult to heal the problem. We like to say “If you don’t share your pain, your pain will remain,” and it’s true.
- We can treat it (fix it) ourselves.
There are lots of guidelines in place that instruct physicians to avoid diagnosis and treatment of themselves, family or friends (except for minor and emergency situations). And we think the same is true for company leaders. Yes, there might be some individual successes, but complete change remains difficult to pull off, and few companies manage the process as well as they would like. Most of their initiatives—installing new technology, downsizing, restructuring, or trying to change corporate culture—have had low success rates. The brutal fact is that about 70% of all change initiatives fail.