*** Very obvious strategic aspects to success for those who really do care about having an organization full of employees who provide value added efforts…
In my past learnings in the business world, the talk was (and still is) of Manage by Observing, Manage by Objective and the less used – Manage by Walking Around. And I am pretty sure, many of you executives out there have heard all of these bandied about at some point in your career/schooling.
All three of these techniques are useful and come in handy at different points in time.
- Observing: This one comes in handy at any time, in meetings, at brainstorming sessions, etc. The point here is to take in what you see, unfiltered and let your brain, your subconscious soak it up.
- Objective: Going by whatever goals, or objectives that have been previously put in place to reach relevant milestones.
- Walking Around: This one is a good favorite of mine. You walk around with a purpose, not with a stick to beat or scare staff but with the goal of seeing what is actually happening, who is doing what effectively, what team is performing activities in an inefficient manner, who are the most productive performers AND why, who are the happiest employees AND why, etc., etc.
In the end though, you are observing what is going on. Then take what you’ve observed and process it.
In taking what I’ve titled this paper, OL & TtT, I see this as a strategic process for success for all of us.
Observing: Covered above but as you observe;
- Do you see your team/employees working with a purpose or is the work being performed with a listless “when will it be 5 o’clock” type activity?
- Is the work being performed listless and dragging, could it be due to the awfully bad, buzzing, flickering fluorescent overhead lights, which should be replaced with full spectrum lighting (to mimic the light of the sun)? Better lighting permits a much better work atmosphere. And better health for everyone…
- Is the air quality just bad? What about windows, do you have windows that at least will allow the employees to have a moment from time to time seeing some greenery and sunshine?
- What about noise, is it so noisy due to bad cubicle arrangements allowing for loud noise to pass along the entire side of a floor – causing loss of train of thought for those who need to concentrate? Are there any quiet areas where members can go to recharge?
- Is there any privacy allowed for those who do not like being watched, overheard all day long?
Listening: Now, as you observe, you should also be listening. You should be listening to the activity taking place around you.
- Is this activity a peppery and snappy pattern or is it a dull, plodding to closing time pattern?
- Listen to the voices, are they proactive and happy as the team(s) do their work or are they dull, negative and massively sarcastic? In meetings, are people generating seriously valuable ideas that get attention but are they also generating creative, somewhat outlandish ideas that should also be considered for forward thinking that some peers and senior leader’s poo-poo as being unrealistic? Are the loudest voices just talkers, with no real value and are drowning out the quieter employees who “do” have significant contributions to make? Are people afraid to bring up ideas because they perceive you as a non-listener or even worse, are afraid of being open and bringing up ideas?
Thinking: After you have observed and listened (neither of which never really stops), now is the time to stew on what you’ve seen and heard.
- You must consciously put in time to think, “really” think – either long and hard in a quiet environment, if at all possible, or quick/fast and hard if time is of the essence. But, you must take some time to think.
- Let your brain cogitate on what has transpired. Let your subconscious have some time to dwell on the observations and conversations because your subconscious (your gut) may come up with something wonderful due to what you may have observed and/or learned and/or actually done in the past.
Give your brain a chance to kick in and have a go before you take the next step…
Talking: Now, the gold nugget of the OL & TtT strategic process, you can talk! But you should have gone through the previous steps first, even if it is an abbreviated manner due to time constraints. After you’ve gone through those steps, you (we) should have something cogent to say. You should have something formed in your mind on what to talk about, either briefly or longer.
You (we) should endeavor to never just barge into a conversation without having something constructive to add, just because you want to be heard. Being heard without adding value is just a waste of your time and the people that have to listen to you.
Take the time to observe, listen, think and then talk, no matter what the settings – this should help you (us) be more successful.
All of the ills / negatives mentioned above can be fixed and should be fixed – and surprise, most of the fixes are inexpensive. For those that are more expensive, you WILL recoup the cost in more productivity and less sick time being taken. In the end, for your bottom line and ROI, you will have more employees who “want” to come to work and be ‘more’ productive.