In the movie, the 'Devine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood', the significance of relationships, loyalty and support are unfolded in a touching and moving story. The Ya-Ya Sisters deal with each other's shortcomings by collaborating as a cohesive whole to create a formidable team that is a force to be reckoned with. It was a given that they were far better as a team than they would ever be as individuals. All for one and one for all.
'Ya-Ya Management' is quite another story. 'Ya-Ya Management' is when there is no challenge, excitement or innovation and the only thing left to motivate team members is the crack of a whip and a sharp yell, "Ya-Ya! Keep it moving people! Ya-Ya!" This is bad Ya-Ya. You can feel the hot breath of your peers on either side of you and occasional nips of their teeth as you gallop at full speed to the same place they are headed, survival. You are experiencing bad Ya-Ya when you run off full steam with a new unclear assignment clutched in your too eager hand and you are too scared to ask clarifying questions. The fear of not getting it done is worse than producing the wrong thing. You are experiencing bad Ya-Ya when the thought of Monday is a bigger and scarier boogeyman than what was under your bed at the age of seven. When you can't sleep at night thinking about Monday and the joylessness it brings.
It is easy to point the finger at senior management for creating the 'Ya-Ya Management' culture, but to be perfectly honest, everyone contributes to it by inaction and action. It is a complicated puzzle that is made by more than one hand, more than one action and too much silence.
I am a firm believer that we teach people how to treat us by where we draw our line in the sand or do not draw our line in the sand. I am not saying we own or control the behaviors of others. I am saying we decide what is and what is not acceptable to us and own the decisions on what to do about it. It is perfectly fine to want a progressive, corporate career, but be clear about what your goals are and if those goals are serving your values, integrity and your personal rules of engagement. Companies and people evolve over time and it is always a good idea to do a check to evaluate if you are in sync with organizational direction. If the answer is no, it is a point for reflection, decision making and implementing an updated plan to course correct.
When you are caught in the wheels of just doing, your perspective becomes clouded and you are not at the top of your game. In the age of just do it faster, we have lost the capability of asking good questions; managing for understanding; engaging in thoughtful debate and listening to all the voices at the table. We could be creating a think-tank instead of breeding a team of strong horses that just do as they are told and where only 'Ya-Ya' gets mediocre results. That is not good for the company or individuals.
From a personal perspective, realizing that you are in a 'Ya-Ya' situation begs to be addressed. It is not good for you physically or mentally to keep plowing along and ignoring the obvious signs that you are going to explode or implode. It is about addressing what is important to you now, at this point in your life. It may not be about packing up your desk today and quitting; or marching into someone's office demanding R-E-S-P-E-C-T; or flushing your iPhone down the toilet, even though that may be a good start. It is about knowing that some kind of change must occur and that you are serious about finding out what it is that will make a difference in your life. It is about reclaiming your passion and making a conscious decision to live your life differently in some way.
Flip the switch and start thinking about how you can live with a clear purpose and loving what you do instead of stressfully reacting to a ringing cell phone, meetings, and too much work with too little time. Reach for the reigns instead of ducking from the whip. Making the transition to re-claiming your life will take work and it begins with asking important questions about what specifically will it take to reformat your life. Moving from a being steered to steering is an awakening experience that can be confusing and scary at first, but oh so liberating.
Not everyone will be glad to see the new you, but you sure will be. And frankly, this is the time to be a little selfish, reclaim your sanity and make decisions on what is right for you. Surround yourself with a fantastic support system of friends, peers, mentors or a coach as you explore what is possible for you and address what no longer serves you. You might be a little surprised with what appears or disappears as priorities.
You do not have to dread Monday in the middle of your Saturday. Take charge of your life and live each day of the week purposefully so that they all blur into discovery, renewal and opportunities to rediscover you again. The day of the week is no longer important. What is important is that you put yourself back on the path of you, an innovative and inspired you. 'Ya-Ya Management' no more. It is Yes-Yes to you.