Loving the man on the bicycle….
Loving the man on the bicycle….
Hierarchies into wirearchies!
Yesterday I trained a group of around 20 managers all of whom were members of the Chamber of Commerce. It was a free ‘taster’ session – a 2 hour glimpse into the power of real management development to improve performance and relationships at work.
Feedback from the group was VERY positive! There was consensus that if we used the ideas discussed consistently and courageously we could probably expect productivity gains in the region of 25 – 40%.
Yet some of those who attended felt they could never put these ideas into practice:
‘Our directors want us to spend less time managing and more time working. They want to see nothing get in the way of production’.
‘Our directors have cut budgets for training and development – we even had a hard time getting away for free training sessions like this one.’
‘I have a member of staff who always hits targets, but she does it at the expense of her colleagues. She lies and cheats and upsets everybody. I have tried to give her feedback and would like to fire her – but because she sells so well my boss won’t hear of it.’
‘In my job customers ring up and often shout and swear at me. My boss says I just need to be more assertive’.
This is a reality of working life for many in SMEs. This is why so many SMEs erode quality of life and wellbeing rather than contribute to it for their employees.
It reflects the somewhat sorry state of management and enterprise education today.
Managers spend much of their time measuring – market share, year on year sales, voids, arrears, return on investment, customer satisfaction, orders fulfilled, calls handled per hour, orders placed, orders fulfilled (again), total invoiced, hours billed, attendance, productivity per employee etc
Why the obsession with measuring stuff?
Because it gives us the data to recognise what has changed, what needs to change, and when we make the change – whether it has had the impact we planned.
But none of these metrics are about US – the manager. They are all about the performance of the system and the people that we manage. And this often lets us of the hook for making real change in the way we manage.
What if we measured some more personal aspects of our management efforts?
I am convinced that if we started to measure our own personal performance in relation to some of these more personal aspects of management, most of us would we would pretty quickly get some powerful data on what we needed to change. Measurement would also pretty quickly confront us with the fact that our perceptions of our performance are markedly different from reality.
As we make planned changes based on measurements of our own personal behaviours we will soon see a very positive impact in some of the more traditional areas where measurement prevails. The act of measurement itself would also increase the likelihood of planned changes being implemented and seen through. That after all is perhaps the main reason why we measure.
To make sure that important things get done.
Willing volunteers outperform conscripts and mercenaries every time. They are more innovative and creative as well more diligent and disciplined.
Volunteers have bought into a mission and a purpose rather then been bought into it.
Much of the private sector is struggling with how to turn salaried staff from conscripts and mercenaries into volunteers. Finding ways to engage them in the work of the organisation. To provide them with fulfilling and rewarding work.
Much of the public and third sector seems to be taking almost exactly the opposite path. It finds ways to turn passionate and caring volunteers (people who have bought into the mission) into conscripts and mercenaries. This is achieved by:
It is a strange paradox that many private sector clients are making genuine efforts at developing employee engagement in pursuit of profits while so many third sector and public sector organisations are developing processes and systems that alienate employees and volunteers in pursuit of efficiency.