You have three choices.
You can throw anything up on the wall and make it work. Put it together, make it functional. It may look ugly but you don’t care. It needs to do one thing and one thing only – work.
That’s what I did with my monitor stand. I put a ream of paper beneath it and called it good.
If what I’m trying to accomplish has multiple angles, multiple possible outcomes, multiple facets and especially if it will determine my success in something, I’m going to give it a little more (OK, a LOT more) thought. It will take some time to design.
Take your company’s product or service, for example. I am sure it was designed, redesigned, fussed and agonized over by a team of people at various stages to create something just right. Something that not only works as expected but also is something others want. In fact, if done right, people will be throwing money at your company so they can have whatever it is they sell. That should be the goal, at least.
If you mix the design of choice #1 with the expected the outcome of choice #2, you have choice #3: delusion. When we choose this path we become angry, irritated, and not so nice to be around. Small things set us off. Why? Because we expect great outcomes to be produced from only meager (or sometimes no) design.
Little forethought. No research. Minimum resources.
Doesn’t that sound like too many organizations you know of?
They haven’t designed their culture, they’ve let it happen. I’m not talking about designing an org chart and deciding who does what and who sits where and who reports to whom.
I’m talking about designing an experience for the workforce. Including you.
A working experience where the employees love what they do. Where they want to and can do the right things for the company. Where they are totally engaged in their work and have some skin in the game.
Policies don’t getting in their way of doing the right thing. Politics won’t slow them down. Their tools make work easy, not harder to get work done the right way. Toxicity doesn’t repel them because it isn’t present.
To have this type of culture and workforce you need to purposefully design it.
Small but Deliberate Changes
It seems like an easy thing – change one hue to another. But to get there took many, many hours of discussions and testing and debating and…
I could go on and on about how software designers make small changes which yield huge results. They call it User Experience, or UX: creating just the right experience so the user feels compelled to go down a specific path and enjoy it. They WANT to be there (and eventually throw money at them).
And it is the same with your teams.
We need to get into the culture design mode.
This is designing the experience your employees have when working for you. Being very deliberate and specific about what employees experience. To the point where the great ones are beating down your door to work for you.
It is creating just the right experience so the employees feel compelled to do what is best for the company and for themselves – and enjoy it. They WANT to be there.
They become emotionally invested in their work.
In this logo, the circle represents the all encompassing nature. We can’t just break off pieces and say, “Why aren’t you engaged? Your benefits are fabulous!” (I have heard this or similar too many times.) WX is the full design of the employee’s experience.
The lines represent a deliberate path that you want the employees to take. It is headed somewhere. But it is still open, willing to change and be flexible on both ends, the employee and management ends. Ideas and the power to implement those ideas should be open.
When we talk about WX we aren’t just talking about the soft squishy stuff – although that is included.
It is also things like how they communicate within their teams or across the company. How they get work done. How they move from one task to another. Why they are fulfilling the role they are. How they feel at the end of the day. How they feel when they come to work (are they dreading it?)
After all this, here is the warning:
If you don’t invest in WX, it will be designed for you. It will not only hurt your business, but you won’t like where it goes.
But here is the opportunity:
You can start now and purposefully design a unbelievably powerful Workforce Experience. It takes time and effort, but the results will pay you back many times over. And not only in monetary success. Your design will starve toxic situations and focus on the productive ones.
How is it done? In later posts I will talk about how we can use design principles in WX.
Now, go purposefully design your workforce.