Early in my career and our married life, we met and became dear friends with a couple in California. I won’t reveal their names, but my nick name for him is “Lewie.” He has become a very talented and successful first assistant director in Hollywood, in movies everyone would recognize. More importantly, he has remained a good man in spite of the world he works in- but that’s another blog.
Since “Lewie” was in the industry, a young actor we knew who had just performed in the production of a “B” movie wanted his (Lewie’s) opinion on the movie and his acting performance. So we were invited with Lewie to attend a private screening with a group of the actor’s friends. For those of us attending, the quality of the movie and his acting were perhaps as high on the list of “worst” we had seen up to that point of our young lives. We tried very hard to show support with a straight face.
We had some good laughs and enjoyed some treats together after the screening, while our actor friend was glowing in the possibilities of his fame upon the movie release. As we made our way to the door, our actor friend blazed a path to “Lewie” and asked “What did you think?” (smiling with anticipation). Lewie said, in a way that only a calm Samoan could (clearly and without emotion though spoken thoughtfully as a wise man), “It is what it is.” And with that pearl of wisdom left hanging over the actors befuddled head, we left.
Over the years, when ever we have had occasion to comment on something honestly that would require awkward negativity, we have used that line very effectively, “It is what it is.”
While I was studying in “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen M.R. Covey, I read what organizational design expert Arthur W. Jones said “All organizations are perfectly aligned to get the results they get.” Or as Lewie would say, “It is what it is.”
I think this is a simple business truth. If your organization is not getting the results desired, it is because it is aligned to get the results it gets. I know this is not extremely deep, but it is extremely true. The exciting part of this analogy is that we can actually align our intent with our behaviors to achieve the best results.