I walked by my neighbour’s property admiring their new pavement. It is less than a year old and the rain had recently washed it clean. My eyes fell upon some obscure bumps in the pavement. I could hardly believe my eyes. Upon closer inspection, I found a cluster of dandelions poking through the pavement. I was fascinated. How did they survive the hot tar being poured over them? What about the fumes that was sealed around them during the rolling and compacting stage? What of the absolute blackness they endured these past many months? How on earth did they survive?
My neighbours had hoped that these dandelion seeds were dead. Their inactivity through the fall, winter and most of spring gave every indication they had perished … until the sun shone for a few days. Suddenly, the “dead” seeds awoke from their dormant state, broke through their cosmetic barrier and showed up again in the spot they have “owned” for many years.
It got me thinking about unresolved issues. We can avoid them, cover them with “cosmetic” coverings or pretend they don’t exist. Yet, when the circumstances/temperature are just right they burst from the subconscious penetrating every avoidant mechanism, and like the irrepressible dandelion, they disrupt our false sense of calm and perfection.
Unresolved issues never die, they just go dormant waiting for the right conditions to become an offense. Offense inadvertently leads to conflict. Unresolved issues in personal lives or organizations cause destabilization from the inside out. This is the worst kind of threat. External pressures make a demand on personal/corporate immunity. When personal/corporate immunity is compromised then objectives are obstructed, distractions influence reliability, and productivity is altered.
Our best laid plans cannot disguise or neutralize unresolved relational issues. Sophisticated technological and HR systems will only offer cosmetic “pavement” coverage. At best the relief is temporary. Brewing beneath our urbane attempts to camouflage unresolved issues lies the penetrating release of frustration and disengagement that effects organizational and personal outcomes.
It takes courageous leadership to address the issues that we would rather avoid or escape. Courage is the antidote for unresolved issues. Identify, validate, and take steps to correct relational injuries. Create intentional platforms for conciliatory conversations. Up the ante and neutralize the contributors that would create the right environment for “dandelions” to break through your organization’s foundation and disrupt your vision, goals, and productivity.