A few months ago, I crafted up a blog for Diane Crampton that I thought I should also publish here in my blog. I called it,
Recovering the Powers of Positive Possibilities – Ideas and Anchors for The Leadership Art of Reframing
Research shows that new hires rather quickly lose that initiative and spark and that they generally regress to the average morale of the group within a short period of time (Sirota Research, 2010). In other words, they had that motivation and they lost it because of how they were managed!
So, let’s talk about Recovery. If you step back from the wagon, you will see that this illustration both represents how things really work in most organizations and that it represents a whole big bunch of issues and opportunities.
Many Round Wheels are already in the wagon, so one key to identifying the issues is simple:
Don’t Just DO Something. Stand there!
In haiku, it might read something like this:
So, this is a blog around some ideas for dis-un-engaging people. The basic idea is pretty simple:
“Potential Possibility for Performance Productivity Practices Already Exist, and Square Wheels are everywhere!
Find them, Engage People, and Fix Things!
But don’t find the wheels yourself! Find the wagon pushers and have them find the wheels, identify the possibilities and implement their own solutions. The rationale is quite simple:
People resist the changes done TO them but develop ownership involvement for their own ideas about making things better.
Nobody ever washes a rental car.
People need to be engaged and the role of manager is to help remove all those things that have been disengaging them in their work. If they have some ownership of the solutions and they see possibilities for improvement, they will put forth more effort to succeed. As the two next illustrations might show, it is about motivation and active involvement:
But the reality is that the manager is an unknown factor in all this in most workplaces. Surveys show that people often feel their ideas are ignored or that they are under aversive control. They will show a lot of compliance behavior, not what we want for involvement and engagement. There is often an issue of trust. And, “Trust is the residue of promises fulfilled.” (Frank Navran)
The suggestion is that managers do a better job of simply asking for ideas for improvement and productivity and that they do a better job of listening and empowering people to actually implement those ideas. What we suggest is that you take the ideas about what is not working smoothly and reframe them into possibilities that can be implemented.
If people point to something as a Square Wheel, people will naturally generate a round wheel alternative based on their cognitive dissonance. The real question is one of motivation, reflected as, “Why bother; no one cares…”
Managers need to be identified as coaches and mentors, in addition to their other roles. They need to act as if they care about improvement and about people. Managers should be looking ahead, identifying possibilities and future outcomes, and involving and engaging their staffs for the long pull ahead.
Below should be part one of your thinking about people and performance. The focus is on the front end of the process of generating higher levels of involvement and building strengths. Doing some training and some team building will allow people to develop their own ideas and potential as well as improve workplace results. We have one of the truly best team building simulations focused on alignment and performance. Click on the image below to see The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine.
If we continue to do the same thing, we can pretty much expect the same results.
The key is to Involve. Engage. Enlist. Align. Expect. Impact.
And generate more fun and involvement out there among the people who we depend on to get things done,
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
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