Organizations have been built on the notion that people must be held accountable and that someone else is in charge of doing that. This kind of thinking, more than anything else, creates and maintains parent–child conversations in the workplace that foster cultures relying on compliance rather than commitment. The idea that we are all responsible for our own commitment is radical.
It requires people to acknowledge each other as adults who are ultimately responsible for the choices they make. We must abandon the thought that others can be the source of our motivation and morale. Then new conversations must begin to engage and support that new worldview. This shift is profoundly difficult, and it is absolutely essential. If you don’t believe it, ask yourself this basic question: “What is best for this enterprise—people who are treated and behave like children, or adults who are resilient and capable of responding to difficult circumstances?” The answer is so obvious that it makes the question seem ridiculous. Yet organizations are still deeply entrenched in workplace philosophies, policies, and procedures that reinforce parent–child conversations and cultures without realizing the cost to the business.