Soviet Military - Objective RealityThe Soviet military had a problem.  Communist doctrine was used to dictate military strategy and tactics.  However, what doctrine dictated usually didn’t result in practical or effective practices on the battlefield.  Because people in the Soviet military aren’t stupid, they responded to this conflict between communist doctrine and battlefield practicalities by adopting the concept of “objective reality.”

Objective reality refers to the actual conditions and resources that were applicable to a given situation and would refute prescribed communist doctrine-driven practices.  One wasn’t dissing communist doctrine, one was facing objective reality.  After all, how can you argue with objective reality?

In many organizations, you have the equivalent of communist doctrine in place.  Rigid rules dictate behaviors that destroy initiative and drive customers away.  Resistance to the doctrine is heresy – greeted with the professional equivalent of death by quartering.  These organizations need objective reality.

Actually, these organizations need a complete rethinking of their assumptions, but few organizations will embrace this unless they are faced with imminent destruction – and, even then, choose death over change.

But the objective reality is that most organizations will muddle along, not really thriving, slowly fading, and making everyone’s lives miserable in the meantime.  If you are an employee in this situation, then your choices are submission, leave or creative combat – and let’s be honest, not all these are really options.  If there are few options for finding another job where you are, and your situation is that you can’t leave, then your options are to submit or fight.  And it takes a special type of person to risk destruction by fighting.

In adopting objective reality, you ask the doctrinaire person to explain how something is to be done as directed when the means or methods are not practical – requiring impossibilities to be performed.  You are also laying the groundwork and documentation showing that what was done isn’t your fault.

The problem with this approach is that the doctrinaire person doesn’t care.  Their doctrine is the bedrock of their existence and nothing can or must negate it.  The results are predictable – they will be nothing like what was claimed.  But the results are not the fault of the doctrinaire – no, the fault lies with how everyone else carried out the plan.

If this is your situation, find a way out – any way you can. That’s the objective reality.

A physicist by trade, author by choice, a born teacher, a retired veteran, and an adamant problem solver, Frank has helped the White House, federal agencies, military offices, historical museums, manufacturers, and over 250 technology startups get stuff done, communicate effectively, and find practical solutions that work for them. In his spare time, he makes sawdust and watches Godzilla movies.