I am a serious guy when it comes to people and performance, which is why I lean toward using games and cartoons. They are simply More Effective than, well, being SERIOUS!
So, let me take a serious poke at people and performance by using a cartoon and you tell me whether I nail it for you, or not.
Let’s say that work looks like this:
How? Why? Where? What?
Some thoughts (and I know that you can come up with more of them):
- We have a wagon rolling on Square Wheels. These wheels work but they do not work smoothly.
- We have people pushing the wagon forward but they probably cannot see where there are going nor what they are really doing.
- We got a wagon puller, just out of training, using a white horse. All supervisors have white hats and ride white horses, right?
- We have Round Wheels in the wagon. It is not like a better idea does not already exist, it is just that the wagon puller may not be aware of it or have a clue as to how to implement it.
- We have no idea about communications at the back, between the back and the front, or any other things that might be happening.
- We have a puzzled guy just standing there and not apparently doing anything. He could represent senior management. He might be a consultant. He could be from Accounting or Human Resources!
Most of those involved are sincerely interested in getting their jobs done. But it is commonly found that they do not feel like they are part of a high performance team.
WHY are we doing this and why are we doing this this way? Because maybe:
- this approach to doing things represents the way things have always been done around here.
- this way represents the reason the guy on the horse is ON the horse, that a good idea of moving from triangular to square was rewarded!
- this represents a huge improvement over how we used to do things — dragging the wagon was, well, a real drag!
HOW will we make improvements? I think that is very simply a matter of everyone taking a look at things and maybe thinking that some alternative just might exist. Is there a budget? Can the wagon pushers and puller actually have the time to stop and fix anything?
WHERE the heck are these people going with these wheels? Are they for internal processes or has some customer ordered them to use on their wagons? Or, are those wheels going to be installed on the new 747 cargo planes another customer is acquiring, something that will have all sorts of implications and ramifications.
And where might some of those Round Wheels actually be used to benefit our own people and our own performance.
WHAT we need to do seems pretty clear. Step back from the wagon and take a couple of seconds to see if the fog of work clears.
And if not You, Who?
And if not Now, When?
IF IT IS TO BE
IT IS UP TO ME.
We sell simple toolkits and interactive team building games to drive increased motivation for change and improvement.
For the FUN of It!
Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.
Square Wheels are a trademark of Performance Management Company
LEGO® is a trademark of the The LEGO Group