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The generation gap continues to baffle far too managers in the workplace. Despite the effort of many to educate front-line leadership, companies are struggling with different realities at work. This lack of knowledge is more expensive than most organization realize. It is difficult to quantify ignorance. It is far more difficult to calculate the cost of ignorance. Consider the supervisor that still utilizes fear and intimidation to get work accomplished. Managers that act like Dr. Jekyll one day and Mr. Hyde the next are still out there.
I wish I could tell you that these managers are like the fabled unicorn and only exist in lore; or they have been sighted like Bigfoot but never really proven to exist. But alas, they do indeed exist. I will admit they are a rare combination of human reality that spells misery for those unfortunate enough to work for them. Like mutants, they are hidden among normal management genetics. In other words, they are hiding in plain sight.
Look folks it is now 2017. Wake up! I am so tempted to use an expletive here (!@%$*#@#) to get your attention. We need to get a grip before we are beaten like a drum by our competitors. I hope this creates a much needed sense of urgency for CEOs and other managers responsible for organizational performance. The team with the best talent wins. There is absolutely no excuse not to have written plan to quantify your current talent reality. I am helping organizations take the best and brightest talent from competitors that offer no resistance. It is literally like taking candy from a baby. Insert baby emoji here!
This world is fighting to make us all the same. And frankly it is in our nature to become one homogenous pot of ordinariness. We must find the courage to resist this instinct. The tendency to be common among our peers is a powerful force. Too many people and organizations are simply different versions of the same reality. They are ordinary and ordinary is boring.
I never could quite figure out what the band Manfred Mann was saying after the lyrics in the hit song “Blinded by the Light” until I looked up the song for this article. But wow what a song it is! It sounds great and it is an amazing song despite my inability to understand the words rolling off the lead singer’s tongue. In the same way, organizations love the idea of a disciplined maintenance system, yet they don’t quite realize the relationship it has to leadership. I have determined that your approach to maintenance is a telling sign of the leadership provided to your organization. The relationship between the two concepts is quite interesting.
Let’s face it! The days of the old hierarchical organizational chart are finished. It is like old underwear that has indeed served its purpose yet seen better days. Though comfortable and familiar, it is time to let it go. It is time to move on. It is time for something fresh, new, and better capable of supporting (pun intended) your current human assets. We have relied on the old thing far too long and frankly, we have become blinded to the potential of something else being better as a way of organizing our people.
I don’t want to go! Please don’t make me go! Leaving the world of transactional management is a noble idea. However, many executives cannot seem to take the first step. They expect natural, organic change that occurs slowly over time. Blah, blah, blah! Contemporary thinking requires a deliberate strategy to build tribes that make your workplace “sticky” for talent. I recently worked with a manufacturing organization where 19% of the employees don’t show up for work daily. Can you say ouch! Imagine the costs they are experiencing. What are the costs in quality, safety, and employee morale? They have been slowly conditioned to hire more people to cover the absenteeism. People are strained and over-worked. This is their new normal. Does this sound familiar?
Tina Turner may have asked the right question when she implored “What’s love got to do with it?” in her 1984 pop hit. Some of you may need to google the song – shaking my head with the big-eyed emoji. The question she poses gets very interesting when we apply it to business. What does love have to do with business? Can we or should we love each other at work? Be honest with yourself because this question is a litmus test for where you stand on the scale between transactional management and tribal leader. Do you really attempt to love the people you supervise or work with? Transactional managers exist for the transaction of work for pay. Tribal leaders, on the other hand, seek to enhance a sense of belonging that is rooted in love for the individual and the organization.
We have all hired that person that looked good on paper and interviewed well but did not turn out as expected. How do we undo this mistake? You went to the board and made the pitch but alas they simply don't perform. Or worse, they have changed into someone that is no longer the person you hired. What now? I have coached several top level executives through the challenge of undoing the mistake they made with a bad hire. It is never easy however it does require a willingness to place the good of the organization over any one individual.
Safety success can be as elusive to some organizations as the Loch Ness Monster or mermaids have been to men throughout modern history. While most companies desire a safe workplace, the true reasons they fail are quite compelling. In short, most companies treat symptoms while few really determine the cause of disease. Too many organizations believe the disease of injury is superficial rather than a comprehensive infection of leadership in the workplace. Simply put, people do not desire to be injured, yet injuries continue to occur. Why?