Saturday, September 17, 2011

Success is a squirrel, a beaver and a goose away

The employees believe the boss doesn't understand. The boss believes the employees don’t understand.

Neither ‘side’ sees the point of wasting time on the other’s project.

Perfect setup for work conflict.

How do we get ourselves in a position to understand each other and be better aligned when it comes to core values, shared vision and goals?

Recently, someone shared a book with me by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles, Gung Ho! Turn On the People in Any Organization.

The story is about a young woman who basically tells the emperor he has no clothes – she writes a report disclosing that the boss’ plan is wasting a million dollars annually. As a reward for her fine report, she is sent to manage the worst production plant in the system, which appears to be the boss’ exit strategy for her.

She’s bright. In hours she figures out which department is leading the company in efficiency and maneuvers to discover their secret. The man heading up the department is a Native American who has taught his staff lessons from Nature. She falls in eager to be his student, adopts his practices and broadcasts them throughout the company.

This saves the plant, saves her job, and saves the town.

Can it be that simple? Sure. To back up that assessment Amazon has over 100 positive book reviews.

The book offers an easy 1-2-3 summary at the back that notes that the leader chooses the goal, defines the job and employees succeed when they share the goal and understand they are making a difference not only in the company, but in the world, and they receive heavy doses of praise.

The caution is that the goal may not be adopted by the employees. It’s a hurdle any business faces, not everybody thinks the same way.

In this day of bad economy, layoffs and bankruptcies, I would add, when the job appears, say "send me." Even if it’s something you don’t want to do. Learn quickly, be resourceful, don’t upset the canoe stepping in, and paddle the same direction as the boss.

Today, there are fewer and fewer resources for any of us to do our jobs. From employees inside our company to the customers we serve, everyone is asked to do more with less. Getting the end result that saves the company, saves the career and saves the town is a squirrel, a beaver and a goose away if you read Gung Ho.