I sat at the wrong table for my lunch out yesterday. In a period of 20 minutes, the four people sitting next to me systemically rifled through a minimum of five glaring errors in the practices of their work. Most of the identified errors were then accompanied by a detailed circumvention strategy these people were implementing on their own. Almost as if the conversation were from a rehearsed agenda, each error and subsequent circumvention plan was then clearly attributed to a specific idiot in charge.
Work culture and work practice problem solved over lunch? Hardly.
Blame employees or management? Both.
Human beings complain. Organizations are often a mess.
Without an open and active dialogue of the alignment, expectations and coordination of the related work throughout an organization, No one will reach anywhere near their full potential. In the end, the consumer of the product or service becomes negatively impacted to a degree reflected in the disfunction.
Football Example: A specific play is called in the huddle. The eleven players on offense break the huddle. These eleven players know their specific assignments as prescribed in the playbook. They comprehend that if they each do their assignment well, the play will work as designed. In this play though, four players independently determined that they knew better and altered their assignments to their benefit. The play fails miserably as a result.
In the very finite systems of a controlled athletic contest, missed assignments are obvious and are ardently addressed on the sidelines and/or the underperforming player may be benched. In the infinite complexity of humans working in organizations, the four people who regularly alter their assignments, go to lunch and communicate. Managers likely go to a nicer lunch spot and speak of the idiots that can’t run the damn play correctly and they are losing as a result.
Create and contribute to an open dialogue. As an employee/player, it is important that you communicate constructively in support of sound work culture. As a manager/coach it is important to experience your decisions and work to solve real problems with those executing their assignments.
Human beings complain. Organizations are often a mess. We all play a role in the leading the culture of the workplace. What might you learn in your workplace today with an open, solution-focused dialogue with one another?
“Don’t tell your problems to people: eighty percent don’t care; and the other twenty percent are glad you have them. — Lou Holtz —