July 2011

Ask The Consultants- Following The Plan 2

“Our route drivers are not following our vending machine fill diagram. We’ve had multiple classes, individual interactions and reviews on it and generally have made it a point of emphasis, yet we find in our site inspections that it continues to not be done (right). How do I get my people to follow the plan?”

I will start with the same question as my colleague, “Why should they?”-though with a different idea in the background: I’ll take it from the world of freedom, choice and accountability.

I operate from the premise that human beings are extraordinarily developed and/or evolved, and that when we act (or don’t act), it is because that action produces some benefit, or payoff. Even when we can’t see what that payoff is (a blind spot), or don’t want to admit what it is (deception/ self-deception), there is one. It is when our perspective shifts and we are able to honestly acknowledge the payoff that we’re getting, as well as honestly acknowledge the real cost and consequences of our action, that we have a natural opening and ability to shift our patterns of action. Being accountable for our actions is the key.

Now, in this situation, I see two levels of this occurring: The first (and most obvious) one is with your drivers. Simply put, in their view, the benefits of doing it their way clearly outweigh the consequences and costs; that is why they continue to act that way despite repeated trainings, classes, etc. It is clearly not the know-how that is missing here.  What’s missing is perspective and accountability.

The other level, maybe not so obvious but far more relevant to our conversation, is with you. What is it that you’re getting out of this situation? What if it’s your blind-spot or even self-deception that is keeping this issue in place?

Read More »Ask The Consultants- Following The Plan 2

Ask The Consultants- Following The Plan 1

“Our route drivers are not following our vending machine fill diagram. We’ve had multiple classes, individual interactions and reviews on it and generally have made it a point of emphasis, yet we find in our site inspections that it continues to not be done [right]. How do I get my people to follow the plan?”

 

I would like to begin the conversation by asking the simple question: “Why?”

Why was the currently ignored system created in the first place?  What is its purpose? How are the results produced by following this system different from those produced when the system is not followed?

When building an organization, mandate as a management system is usually effective for a time period correlating to the level of supervision and the consequences for not following the mandate.  We suggest that mandate as a management system is the foundation of many ineffective management programs, and thereby of many ineffective companies.

You run a successful company, so whatever you are doing is working on some level.  But, if what you intend is to achieve improved results, the first step is to bring your people into alignment with that intention.   What is it that you are looking to accomplish?  To whom does that have value?  If the value is only to you, the CEO, good luck getting people to operate according to direction for long periods of time without intense supervision.  People are, generally, creative and independent.  Try to force them into a small box and you will be spending all of your time managing and reinforcing the box.  This is not easy when your people are out on the road without you.

Read More »Ask The Consultants- Following The Plan 1