Synthesis and reflection by Angeline Mosquera
“The real source of cluelessness is not personality or I.Q. It's in how we think and how we make sense of the world around us.”
Cluelessness as defined in the book comes in different forms. One is personal cluelessness. It comes from not knowing enough about ourselves, our actions, or our impact on other people. The symptoms are blindness and hypocrisy. Our actions are detrimental because we don't know what we're doing. Others think we're pretending to be something we're not. To solve this, we must learn about ourselves and get a better understanding at the people we work with.
A second kind of cluelessness is situational. This is what we suffer when our work environment is too complicated, and we attach on to ideas that aren't as good as they seem. To overcome this, we need to learn innovations that can bring better ideas to bring focus to the chaotic environment.
Deepest and toughest to deal with is spiritual cluelessness. We're spiritually clueless when we're not sure about our beliefs, our values, or the life path we really want to follow. The only remedy is to come to grips with basic questions all of us need to answer: What does our life mean? What values should we live by? What are we here to do? Modern workplaces offer little help in finding answers to these perplexing queries. As a result, too many of us drift along with little sense of direction and without a moral compass to guide us through the ethically slippery world of work. This deepens our discouragement about work and, ultimately, about life.
We hear news about companies that lead to failure and the author implied that cluelessness among people is the reason behind it. For instance, let’s take a look at what happened to the company in China that sells melamine- tainted milk powder. They violated ethical standards since they are only after the profit. But what happened in the end? There was a closure of the factory that results to loss of jobs in the company. Those who consumed the said product especially the babies were hospitalized. Death sentence was handed down to the men accused of responsible to the tainted milk scandal. Cluelessness among the people working in this company resulted to the destruction of their reputation and downfall of the company.
We quote from the book, “No matter where you are, you always have options. You're powerless only as long as you think you are”. This is certainly true; one can grow to the best of his abilities if personal, situational and spiritual cluelessness are surmounted. If one can find ways in how to deal with the setbacks of the workplace, then the structure of workplace can be better understood and people can work effectively. Effective structures are determined by what you're trying to do, the goals you have in mind, and the people you're working with.
The book suggests four routes to a better workplace: (1) Create your own do-it-yourself improvement program; (2) band together with some of your co-workers; (3) fight back; or (4) if all else fails and your workplace remains hopelessly toxic, leave and find another.
1. Put yourself in a situation that you are an entry level employee working in a company, and you find out that the company has activities that do not comply with your morals (like in the case of melamine tainted company). How would you handle the situation?
2. Cluelessness happens not only in a company but in any situation that involves collaboration between a leader and its members working in a supposedly clear goal. In a fairly recent hostage situation that happened in the Philippines wherein HK tourists were died, cluelessness was very apparent in the police force. Do you agree? If so, what actions should have been done in terms of getting the right people to handle this situation?
3. Do you have any experience to share that made you feel cynical about your work? And what are the ways that you did to improve the situation.
4. As a manager, how can you prevent cluelessness in the workplace? In terms of helping the members grasp the goal of the organization and promote growth and development