No one approaches their work day by asking this question. Yet despite noble intentions, expensive miscues occur every day. Why?
OK, perhaps there are some postal workers that might intentionally direct your parcel to Bora Bora. So let’s just consider people with at least a trace of pride in themselves and their profession. In fairness to postal workers, the mail usually arrives on time.
Organizational performance guru, Ray Overdorff, has amassed a world of wisdom in working with thousands of people in diverse organizations over the past two decades. Two of Ray’s Six Truths of the Workplace* provide some insight into why things go astray.
Overdorff’s Workplace Truths #1 and #2
- Most people want to do a good job.
- Most people, given the same information, will come very close to the same conclusions.
Organizations are comprised of people that continuously make decisions for allocation of resources; time, money and materials. When things go wrong, it’s not because of bad intentions. Flawed decision-making results in:
- Mishandled transitions with both internal and external customers.
- Inaction and delayed execution.
- Misallocated resources.
Truth #2 Revisited
Given the same information, most people will come very close to the same conclusions.
Are your people making decisions with different information and criteria?
Isn’t the cause of most screw-ups poor communication and misunderstanding of decision making criteria? Why do so many managers behave as though their people are mind readers?
On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate the communication in your organization?
How would you rate your organization’s decision making?
If you could improve your ratings by twenty percent, how many costly shortfalls would be avoided? What changes do you need to make? This brings us back to more wisdom from Mr. Overdorff.
Overdorff’s Workplace Truths #3 – 6
#3: Everybody wants to be somebody.
#4: People are willing to embrace change if they can see the value.
#5:It’s hard to look good in a bad system.
#6: Everybody needs a coach. Be one. Get one!
How might you apply this wisdom in your workplace? Ask yourself…
- Is there an overall cognizance of individual contribution toward our organization’s goals? Is some mind reading required? Are pay checks your primary intrinsic reward?
- How effective is our system when it comes to making it easy for people to make sound decisions and take appropriate actions?
- Does our organization view screw-ups as opportunities for professional growth?
- Do we have support systems or processes to support positive change through coaching and mentoring?
- How are shortcomings in these areas effecting our customers, internal effectiveness, financial performance and our potential for growth?
A noted business author stated: Ray Overdorff is the kind of person that you feel you should have to climb two mountains just for the privilege of meeting. I’ve had the privileged to learn from Ray at sea level. If you can embrace his Six Truths as the rule rather than the exception, they provide simple yet powerful insight and guidance for any progressive organization.