5 personal lessons from Adizes’s philosophy

5 personal lessons from Adizes’s philosophy

For more than three years now I have been most directly connected to the “Adizes family”, which is how we call our community, consisting primarily of certified Adizes consultants, or “integrators” in our language. But I started getting to know Adizes’s ideas much earlier; I probably read his first book back in the early 2000’s.

I have been teaching businessmen Adizes’s tactics for many years, but it was only recently that I seriously thought about what Adizes gave me personally. After thinking for a few hours, I realized:

Adizes’s ideas helped me to find personal freedom.

Somehow it happened that since I started working with the Adizes Institute, my life has gotten a kind of acceleration. I began to enjoy my work much more than before. I restructured my lifestyle, and many of my dreams turned first into plans and then into quite tangible achievements. And it seems that this process cannot be separated from my immersion in the Adizes “family”.

Reference: Itzhak Adizes is one of the world’s leading experts in improving the effectiveness of organizations through profound change. He himself calls himself an “organizational therapist” and offers his own methodology for “diagnosing and treating” organizations, both for-profit and non-profit. He has consulted for many major corporations and governments in several countries and is the author of over 20 books. Some of them are recognized as classics of management theory and rank among the best business books.

For some time I acted as the Institute’s publicity director. With my participation Adizes’s book “Personal Growth” was published in my language. This is a collection of blogs dedicated to personal development. In my opinion – the strongest thing, standing on the same level, and perhaps surpassing the power and depth of the books of other gurus, such as Stephen Covey.

I have a theory that the depth of Adizes, with his stunning simplicity of understanding, is due to the fact that he is a child of at least three cultures – the Balkans, where he was born and spent his childhood, Jewish – no need to explain why, and Anglo-Saxon – he received his dissertation in the United States, lives and works now.

5 personal lessons from Adizes's philosophy

I have never ranked myself the Adizes ideas that have impressed me. But why not?

5 key ideas of Adizes’s philosophy

1. Problems and opportunities are essentially the same thing. The only difference is the point from which you look at it

It’s a rather universal statement. We repeat it so often that it already reeks of banality. But both in business (I speak from the experience of a consultant) and in personal life (from my own experience) it is extremely difficult to apply it.

Often, when we react to a “problem,” we ask ourselves and those around us the wrong questions. The questions “Why me?” are likely to get us nowhere. The right questions are more complicated than “What can I learn from this situation?” and “What should my next steps be?”.

2. There will always be problems. It is a sign that the organism is alive. The scale of the personality is determined by the scale of the problems it is capable of solving

In a sense, when you accept this conclusion, you stop torturing yourself and begin to live your life, perceiving problems as challenges to be taken up and rise, if only by half a step, to a new level.

3. The solution will not be realized until people agree among themselves

Personal interest in the broadest sense of the word is always “on the scene”. When communicating with people with and without business, we often do not fully understand these interests and do not take them into account. It is all the more difficult to do so when people, for one reason or another, even cultural tradition, do not talk about them directly or simply hide them, substituting more beautiful but fictitious motives.

In consulting practice, we ask several important questions:

  • On whom does the implementation of the solution depend?
  • What is the interest of this person or those people?
  • What will help them negotiate and find a mutually acceptable compromise?

4. All the long-term and short-term should be in harmony

Adizes has an area of knowledge that is not described in the books-all that pertains to consulting. In this part there is a rather detailed theory on the sources of conflicts in work groups and ways to resolve them.

If you read the books carefully, you will find many references to one of the conflicts – between the long-term and the short-term. In the ordinary life of ordinary people and ordinary organizations, decisions are most often made on the basis of a desire for short-term results – to make this month’s plan, to please shareholders with quarterly results, etc. In managers, sometimes hovering in the clouds of their “superplans” and “supervision,” you can observe a skew in the other direction – they think about the results of a rather uncertain future, sacrificing part of their lives and building management systems based on the unconditional priority of the long-term.

The problem is that both approaches do not bring the desired results. In the first case, the company is actually deprived of the future, because all decisions are focused only on the “here and now”. In the second case, the company may lose valuable employees who do not want to work exclusively for the “bright tomorrow”.

On a personal level, the long term/short term balance is probably even more relevant. I have learned not to be afraid of big long-term projects, the final result of which will have to wait five years, provided that I can evaluate the results of interim ones (say, once a month) and rejoice in these results, each of which will be a kind of reward for me.

So, according to Adizes: we should try to live for today, not postponing joy for the future, but also meaningfully and with a certain ambition, planning and implementing long-term projects.

5. Your problems are not unique

Thousands of people before you have faced similar difficulties. In order to choose the best path to your goal, it makes sense at least to get to know their experience. Adizes does not write about this directly. But in the book Corporate Lifecycle Management you will find the idea: “The problems that companies experience at this or that stage of the lifecycle are not unique, thousands of other companies have experienced them”. If you want to see the truth of this thesis, read the book to the end and ask yourself if you recognize yourself in certain episodes. If so, that confirms the conclusion.

Hence the conclusion: if your problems are not unique, it is logical to assume that somewhere there are people who can help you through them in the calmest and safest possible way, let’s call it the “optimal” way.

Sometimes it is better not to solve all the problems yourself. Sometimes it makes more sense to find people who have experienced similar problems and ask for their advice: their experience can save you time and effort.

One day I asked Adizes to be my personal coach, and he agreed. Our coaching sessions are quite rare, which is easily explained by his incredible (especially for his age) workload. However, every time we talk about life topics, about the future, values, priorities, and everything that concerns me at that moment, I feel not only the depth of his wisdom, strength of spirit, but also the tremendous capacity for empathy, empathy, and the ability to understand and feel the other person. Every time I leave the room with a mass of ideas and new questions to ponder.

I am well aware that few people on this planet are as fortunate as I am few can afford the luxury of discussing their own problems with the greatest thinker of our time. But all of us can access his knowledge in books, audio lectures, and videos.

I will conclude this article with some terrific quotes from Adizes’s books:

  • Very often inaction is more costly than action;
  • If you think education costs too much, think about what it would cost to not have it;
  • When people grow old, the first symptoms are not in their actions or physical condition. Aging begins in the mind, simultaneously with a change in one’s goals and attitudes toward life. In companies, it happens in a similar way;
  • Building a company or career is like mining for gold. If you dig continuously without distraction to fix the vault and the walls of the adit, one day you will be swamped in the mine.

Be effective, productive and happy. Read good books. You can find all of Adizes’s books here.

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