Your company, like every company, has flaws. There isn’t anything new there – it can even be healthy. But you are feeling that YOUR company really has some growing up to do.
Innovation isn’t happening. People don’t trust each other. Communication between management and employees is stale. Coordination between silos is almost non-existant. Old processes are being followed to your detriment. Employees are working to check the box, not because they have a passion for what they do. Fear is driving employee behavior.
Here is the danger: Too often we don’t realize that we are in a slump. We might see the difficulties, but not realize how bad it is until something jolts us awake. Then we suddenly say, “Wow. How did we get this far off the path?!”
This happened to me this week. I went to one management team meeting where they all agreed, “We need to be more collaborative. We aren’t doing a very good job of that right now.” This was the consensus and it was obvious that they believed it.
The next meeting I went to was lead by a different member of the management team with his employees. In it he unnecessarily clamped down control on his employees. When asked why the action was being taken, the answer was hollow, fake and disingenuous. And the employees felt it and knew it. They walked out of the meeting feeling beat up.
For me the two extremes gave me a jolt and helped me realize just what the problem was: They say they want it (collaboration, innovation, openness, transparency, accountability) but they are not willing to change the way they work to match it.
What can be done?
With much of human behavior, sometimes the best thing to do is to give a shock to the system. Something that will be radical enough, sticky enough that it helps wake up people from their slumber.
Over the last six months or so I was involved in the Management 2.0 Hackathon.
The Management 2.0 Hackathon was designed to deeply explore a simple idea: How can we apply the principles of the Web—which is already adaptable, innovative, and inspiring—and use them to reinvent management for the future?
I was a part of a team that put together a “management hack.” These hacks, when employed, give us that jolt that we sometimes need.
Now here is the beautiful part of the whole thing.
Some of the hacks must take management to implement. Some don’t. Some can be done on the down-low by employees and create real change.
The Management 2.0 Hackathon report is required reading. It lists the best hacks and gives links to them for more details.
…is to pick a hack and implement it. If nothing else, as an experiment. But always with the intent to learn and create a culture of openness, of trust.