Subliminal apathy AKA the highest form of procrastination

It usually looks like that:

  1. Discussion seems fruitful, brainstorming normalizes & catches "the flow", people sync well & come up with a shared conclusion. Verbal statements happen. People nod in ecstasy. Deductions appear. People nod in ecstasy (again). And people diverge with a sense of a job well done ("We agreed. Totally.", "Great idea.", "Good that we're on the same page.").

    Days pass, nothing happens.

  2. Review / feedback session takes place:

    A: This one is a bit wrong, you should be more explicit.
    B: Right, I agree.
    A: You should split this one in two, they can be done in parallel.
    B: Great idea, needs to be done indeed.
    A: ...
    B: Can't agree more, definitely something to do.

    Review meeting is over. Nothing changes.

  3. Individual "oh snap"-like ephiphany happens:

    • "OMG, indeed, auto-tests are useless without CI."
    • "Damn, this report is not being sent for two weeks already, we need to fix it ASAP."
    • "Getting rid of this thing would save use at least few hours each sprint, definitely."
    • "I should do this next time, few lines of comment sent to X will help them handle that on their own."

    Two weeks pass, same shit happens again. Deja vu.

Did it happen to you? Does it still? Like every week? I thought so.

I keep seeing it all the time (fortunately it doesn't affect everyone of course).
It's terrible.
Abysmal.
Depressing.

Some people (even really smart ones) are so terrible in making actionable conclusions (documenting them, summarizing, scheduling, cataloguing them & communicating to right "stakeholders") that it freaks me out. There are various reasons of course:

  • some are just no organized well enough or have a limited imagination (or rather - ability to predict future)
  • some just don't believe anything may change due to their own actions
  • some are afraid of taking the responsibility
  • some are overconfident in terms of memorizing stuff
  • some have problems with priorities
  • some lack basic knowledge of conceptual work toolkit
  • some are full-breed procrastinators & happy about it
  • and of course some don't give a minor f@$k - you can call it low engagement, if you prefer :D

In the end majority of these people are just surprised that nothing happened ("Hey! Didn't we agree what should be done?!"). And instead of motivating them to FINALLY GET F@#KING THINGS DONE next time, it makes them sure that nothing can change and they are doomed (to remain in the shit they're stuck within), so they succumb even deeper in their apathy:

  1. No way to sync their points of view.
  2. No actionable items.
  3. No written conclusions.
  4. No post mortems.
  5. No conclusive retrospections.
  6. No continuous improvement attitude.
  7. No shared ownership, no will to stand up to vouch for a change, ...

Don't get me wrong - if you think I'm expecting activity from others, while staying passive (& observing) myself - it would be a huge hypocrisy indeed. But it's not the way I'm doing - I'm usually running around like nuts & trying to get people moving, but sometimes the barrier of passive resistance is just overwhelming:

  • "To write it down? Uncool, I don't like writing things down."

  • "No need to make notes, I can remember everything easily."

  • "Yes, I'll correct it. Sure. Let's proceed, no need to worry about that."

  • "Me? Why me? There were others who contributed / spoke more."

  • "Hey, you're pushing things too fast, let's change one thing at a time."
    "Ok, so, what is the one, particular thing you are changing right now?"
    "..."

face-f&@king-palm

Pic: © Jultud - Fotolia.com