I am just back from a great trip to India, part of which focused on themes of strategy implementation and leadership and the generation of alignment and motivation. The sessions went well and like most things, generated a new focus on continuous continuous improvement for me.

A lot of the tabletop discussions were around motivating people and driving alignment from the top. As usual, I wrapped my thoughts and comments around the Square Wheels illustrations. More than most session, though, we focused on The Vision Thing and about how communications were so critical.

One theme was to reconfirm the issues of isolation. I use my illustration on idea generation for this:

A Desk is Dangerous Place from which to View the World

Ideas are good and people should be always thinking of better ways to get things done. But not all ideas are good ideas and some should NOT be implemented. But the idea combined by “The Power of the Desk” can result in some of them being strongly considered. This is partly an issue of isolation from the workplace and a failure to check with the hands-on workers who are directly affected.

This work reminded me of an old tool that I used to use, back in the days of overhead projectors and transparencies and doing a goodly number of presentations on leadership and involvement and similar. Thus, I reproduce “In The Beginning” below as a tool for thinking about the disconnects that so often seem to occur and the issues of upward communications and the filtering of information.

I believe in Managing by Wandering Around (Tom Peters) and in the constant communications about Square Wheels and Round ones between workers and managers.

Hope you like this:

In the Beginning was The Vision

And then came the Assumptions
And the Assumptions were without Form
And the Vision was without substance.

And Darkness was upon the faces of the Workers
And they Spoke amongst themselves, saying:
“It is a Crock of Shit, and it Stinketh, badly.”

 And the Workers went to Supervisors and sayeth unto them:
“It is a Pail of Dung, and none may abide the Odor thereof.”

 And Supervisors went to Managers, and sayeth unto them:
“It is a Container of Excrement, and it is so very Strong that none may abide it.”

 And Managers went to Directors and sayeth unto them:
“It is a vessel of Fertilizer, and none may abide its Strength.”

 And Directors went to Vice Presidents and sayeth:
“It contains that which aids plant Growth, and it is very Strong.”

 And Vice Presidents went to Executives and sayeth unto them:
“It promoteth Growth, and it is very Powerful.”

 And Executives went to the President, and sayeth unto him:
“This powerful new Vision will actively promote the Growth and Efficiency of our departments and the company overall.”

And the President looked upon the Vision and saw that it was good.
And the Vision became The Reality.

I hope that this speaks for itself about some of the issues we face in generating involvement and engagement and in motivating people for workplace improvement. We have lots of ways to make real improvements, but they really need to be real improvements!

Remember that the View at the Back of the wagon:

The View at the Back of the wagon is different from the View at the Front - what most workers really see

is generally different from the View at the Front:

The View at the Front of the wagon is unobstructed. But it is NOT the view of the organization as to where it is going.

Hope you liked this! It is about people, motivation, and alignment to goals and objectives. Keep things real!

And have FUN out There!