There is an old song which goes “Killing me softly with his song…”, to which the title of this post alludes. The song describes how the writer went to hear a singer and was struck by how the singer seemed to describe her feelings and inner tormented being with his song. She wanted the singer to finish, to stop laying her heart out for all the world to see, but the singer kept on singing. The song doesn’t say that she cried out for the singer to stop singing, to stop playing his guitar and stop reminding her of her pain. There seems to be an implicit morbid fascination with the singer describing her pain, as though she were a frog hypnotized by a snake about to strike. Stupefied immobility instead of positive action. The analogy of the boiled frog does spring to mind, too. Put a frog in boiling water and it would leap out if it still can. Put a frog in room temperature water and heat it up very slowly, and the frog would swim around quite happily until it is boiled to death. Actually, it would be dead long before the water boils! Nobody wants to die, and since we all will die one day, we would all like our deaths to be as pleasant and as painless as possible. Perhaps that is one reason why we pay so much oblique attention to it, as if by so doing the associated pain could somehow be assuaged.
Is your organization suffering from similar mortal fascinations? Have you, inadvertently perhaps, led your people into a nice warm pot of water on the boil? Are you having a small, unseen, undetected haemorrhage somewhere, slowly leaking life? Is corporate death looking you in the face, and you are so detached that you actually watch its approach in a somewhat bemused fashion?
Stop it! If you don’t feel the pain, you are probably having organizational leprosy. Get it treated, get your nervous system back in order, and start living like a thriving organismic organization again! Start today! If you don’t, you might just find out too late that it’s been “killing me slowly”, by which time it would be too late.