For some reason, the issue of upwards communications of information and filtering keeps coming up again and again as an organizational improvement issue. Since I have used a fun little tool to address this over the years, so I thought to post it up again since it might be helpful or at least generate some thinking and consideration about alignment. (Gee, wonder if there might be some ongoing issues with this in organizations… Yeah, there are!)
My general thought, backed up by lots of data from dozens of sources, says that things seem to work somewhat like this:
The following piece is a document that you can use in different ways. Sometimes, I will simply give this out as a handout while other times, I will read it aloud myself. But I think the best way to do this is to have the group read it, one person and one line at a time. It seems to be much more humorous that way. Or, give it out and ask for a volunteer — often, the volunteer is one of the ones who knows that they have issues with this.
Most of the time, I simply have some copies in a “presentation contingency file folder” so that I can pull it out and distribute if there is that kind of opportunity. And, it seems to work with all kinds of different organizations and levels of management. A group of senior engineers had quite a challenging time with it one evening because they were laughing so hard — I wish I had that on video to upload to YouTube!
Anyway, here it is in words. I will have a link to download a pdf file added here, also:
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 see this as pretty darn funny. Here is the link to the pdf version, which is at the bottom of the page.
Motivation and engagement are about involving people. If things are really bad, the above can come in handy to get people to start laughing at reality and considering things that could be done differently.
Change the environment and recognize reality,
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.
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