Archive for August, 2016

Do you want adult behaviour in your organisation?

Ready to go deep?  OK, here we go.

What’s the first authority relationship you remember in your life?  It’s your parents right?  That’s the model we start with.  Parent-Child.

What’s the next one?  Most likely teachers. So we’ve got Teacher-Student.

Along the way you might have junior sports, music, dance.   This one is Coach-Player.

You might have had jobs as you grew up, so you had Manager-Junior Employee.

All of these models are burned in young, they are familiar, and it’s what we’re used to.  They share the general structure of Authority Figure – Dependent.  And they are not bad, it’s what’s needed to allow us to navigate the confusing paths of the world as we head toward adulthood.

The thing is…we do eventually become adults.  But….and here’s where we get deep….we can inadvertently keep these models going as we progress into our adult organisational lives.  And we do this because it’s safe.  We can accidentally project the Parent-Child relationship onto Manager-Employee, with both parties being complicit! Read more…

The real reason your roles are not clear

Provide clarity to employees

We can almost include as a template ‘clarify roles’ as the next step at the end of any planning day.  Seems to be the perpetual org development activity, along with ‘sort out cross-functional relationships’.

Here’s what’s not addressed: the reason roles aren’t clear is because we like it that way!

How do I know this?  Because you would take a stone out of your shoe if it was hurting.  Because when your friend recommends a certain dish from the menu, you give it a try.  Because, in the end, the world around you is the world you have created, which means you must like it that way.  Otherwise you would change it.

Getting roles clear is no harder than saying either “here’s what I want you to deliver”, or “here’s what I intend to deliver”.  This is the starting point, then discuss.  If you can’t reach agreement, boss makes the call.  Then list them up, and you’ve got yourself a role.  Make sure jobs higher in the hierarchy have longer timespans for what they are delivering so you don’t get compression in the levels, and you’ve got the general idea.

So why isn’t clarifying roles as common as ‘here’s your email address’?  Here are some of the usual reasons:

  • It will stifle creativity” – nope, creativity is stifled by a) unclear outcomes and boundaries b) specifying ‘how’ it needs to be done c) not having a good enough relationship so people can come back with ‘here’s a better outcome we should be doing’ d) people having work that is either under or overwhelming (too short or long in timespan) Read more…