This blog is about the relationship between organizations and the people who work for them. And, it’s dedicated to the millions of people around the world who go to work every day wanting to do a great job.
So, what’s a good question? ¬†Today I’m going to share with you what I think is not just a good question it may be the best question: ¬†”Why?”
Yes the question is: “Why?” ¬†And if you’re asking me “Why?” Here’s why.
The answer to the question “Why?” will get to motivation. ¬†And motivation in leadership and communication is everything. By asking “Why?” until you get to the motivation you will find that the answer is either to:
- Make something go away? Problem-solve.
- Bring something into being? Create.
Problem-solving and creating are fundamentally different. ¬†They have different energy. ¬†Creating will always allow you to build momentum toward the thing you’re creating. ¬†Problem-solving will not.
“Why?” you ask. Well that’s a very good question…. ¬†For leaders and communicators knowing the difference is fundamental.
Looking back to an Apple ad from 1997 for a little inspiration.
Where are the “crazy ones” in your world? “The misfits? The rebels? The trouble makers? The square pegs in round holes? The ones who see things differently?” Where are the people crazy enough to change the world in your organization?
What are you doing as an institution to support and encourage their crazy world changing ideas? ¬†If you’re looking for innovation, this may just be what it takes.
There’s a lot of interest, OK hype, around Google Glass. Let’s face it, the futuristic glasses are pretty cool looking just as a fashion accessory, but add in all the power of a smart phone and well it’s a pretty compelling offer.
Here are some of the features in the current prototypes:
- Responds to voice commands
- Answers questions [since it syncs through the net it means you can search the net - it's a Google product after all]
- Has GPS
- Takes and shares¬†photographs and¬†live video
- Sends and receives text messages and emails
- Provides digital voice assistance that is customized to your personal habits [e.g. weather, traffic]
All this in a range of fashion colours!
At least one of ¬†my luckier, dare I say it geekier, friends [Mitch Joel] has already had a chance to try the Glass. ¬†His take: ¬†”I think this will blow people away.” ¬†I’m pretty sure we can expect that¬†by the end of 2013 we’ll start seeing the Glass on others if we’re not lucky enough to have one ourselves.
So, here’s my question:¬†What impact will Google Glass have on the workplace? ¬†You know it will, so it’s definitely not too soon to start thinking about the potential and planning for the future!
According to “Engage for success“, a government initiative designed to increase employee engagement across the UK, ¬†there are¬†four enablers of employee engagement:
- Visible, empowering leadership providing a¬†strong strategic narrative¬†about the organisation, where it‚Äôs come from and where it‚Äôs going.
- Engaging managers¬†who focus their people and give them scope, treat their people as individuals and coach and stretch their people
- There is¬†employee voice¬†throughout the organisation, for reinforcing and challenging views, between functions and externally, employees are seen as central to the solution.
- There is organisational¬†integrity -¬†the values on the wall are reflected in day to day behaviours. There is no ‚Äėsay ‚Äďdo‚Äô gap
Each of the four enablers is, at its core, a question of communication:¬†The ability of leaders, managers and employees to communicate in a way that involves.¬†
The UK figures they’re losing¬†¬£25.8bn¬†[that would be¬†$40.25 billion!]¬†in GDP annually. ¬†Why? ¬†Employee engagement. Or rather the lack of engaged employees. Now if that doesn’t wake business and government up I don’t know what will.
Employees want to go to work to do a good job. ¬†They want their work to matter. They want to feel involved. ¬†They aren’t. Or they aren’t enough.¬†Shouldn’t encouraging and building the capacity to communicate be a priority? If not, why isn’t it?
First it was the Berlin wall. ¬† Now it’s the cubicle wall. ¬†Workspaces even in the most traditional environments – banks, insurance companies and law offices are changing. And they are changing in pretty radical ways. ¬†Shared work stations, open space and windows, tables, couches and banquettes instead of cubicles and enclosed offices. ¬†Even though the initial motivation of these organizations is cost cutting, according to an article in today’s Globe and Mail employees report an overwhelmingly positive experience and increased productivity.
Perhaps even more interesting, given the focus of this blog, is the implication for communication and change management. ¬†One would hope that there would be something equally inventive, but when faced with some issues “10% of negative comments are about noise and work behaviours that become distractions, the bank is doing training and distributing tip sheets about having consideration for others.” ¬†Good grief! I think the walls just went back up.
“Traditional marketing ‚ÄĒ including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications ‚ÄĒ is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.” ¬†
Once you move your marketing away from “interruption and manipulation” and you design it around “the success you create for your customers… the value you are creating for you customers…” ¬†everything changes. ¬†And you can’t fake it anymore.
You can’t fake it anymore with your customers for sure. ¬†Which means you can’t fake it with your employees, the communities you work in, the suppliers you work with. ¬†
As communications professionals and leaders are you ready?
Focusing seems to be the theme of the week.
First I read about how Canadian Tire managed to grow profits while focusing on reducing energy consumption.
Then, I heard Dr. Hartley Stern, Executive Director, Jewish General Hospital speak at the Canadian Club yesterday about how we as Quebecers should be focused not just on access to medical care, but also on cost and quality. He went on to talk about how his hospital is tracking and publishing results and lessons learned on their website as a key part of thier strategy to improve care, reduce cost and improve quality. This is a radical new approach to health care in Quebec.
And, today, I read “Does Management Really Work?“. The answer: Yes. Where they have the right focus.
But, focusing on the right things is not enough.
Consistent and reliable communication is essential in each of these stories. Communication that makes the invisible visible. The un-understandable understandable. The meaningless meaningful.
How are you and your organization doing on focusing on the right things and then communicating in the right way?
A little focus – hocus pokus…
Here in Canada, the first day after Labour Day begins a new school year for many children. ¬†And one of the important lessons our kids learn before they head off to school is to “Stop. Look. Listen” before crossing the street.
And, maybe it’s a lesson we as leaders and communicators can learn from too¬†as we get back to work after the summer and start in on this new business season full of the pressures of strategic planning and budgeting, achieving last quarter and annual results, annual performance reviews and objective setting for next year.
Yesterday, as you know, scientists announced evidence that they have now proven experimentally that a Higg’s-like ¬†boson particle exists. Higg’s and others first proposed the boson particle to explain mass in the 1960s. ¬†Over the past 50+ years since then scientists have been¬†looking for patterns and fundamental underlying structures that would lead to the particle behaviours they see. The task has taken trillions+ of data points and many years just to achieve even this first limited breakthrough – evidence that the Higgs boson “particle” does exist. They will now begin to analyze the particles even further to see to what extent their properties are as predicted by the Higg’s mechanism.
So, what does any of this have to do with leadership, communications and organizational work life – the main themes of this blog?
Well, I couldn’t help wondering, what amazing breakthroughs we could have organizationally if we as leaders had this level of curiosity. ¬†
What if we were curious enough that we really wanted understand why things happen the way they do or don’t in our organizations?¬†Discovering patterns and underlying structures that lead to behaviours is key to changing those behaviours. So, why aren’t we more curious about our organizations and how and why they work the way they do? Why aren’t we more disciplined in working to discover the underlying structures that are leading to the behaviours and outcomes we’re after?
Compared to the Higg’s boson research, our research would cost less¬†in time [probably wouldn't take 50 years] and¬†in money [no electron accelerator to build]. ¬†The benefits would be huge and direct [knowing there is a Higg's boson particle is clearly important but is unlikely to have nearly the direct impact on us].
Maybe we should begin our exploration by looking at the level of leadership curiosity? Is it adequate or not? ¬†And, if it’s adequate is it focused on the right business and organizational questions or not? If not, how can we understand what underlying structures are getting in our way and design an approach that encourages organizational curiosity?
It may not be Higgs-boson, but it’s a pretty important question.
What do you think? ¬†Is it time to get curious about organizational curiosity?