I really like this blog post: Youtellus: The power of questions. All the stuff about asking powerful and mind-blowing questions is true and should be practiced all day long.
Yet, this part makes me wonder:
“Leaders and managers have the obligation to always look for ways that the organization as a whole can function more effectively.To do this, they need to ask questions about practices, processes, persons and structures:
Why do we things this way?is there a better approach?”
I mean, do we really need to ask people questions about practices, processes and structures? I guess that if we do, we’d find problems. People rarely get interested in these (I do, but then, I’m a Lean coach, so that doesn’t count because I’m not “normal”
To be a bit more serious, I was interested in processes at the beginning because I was a sort of productivity geek. But then I understood that improving processes with Lean or Six Sigma was not a matter of using tools. Even further, it was not a process matter.
Improving organization is a people thing.
I don’t mean a social or psychological thing (though these may help, but at the same level as can IT for instance – heck, I am in IT now!) When I say “people” I mean real people, with a head and a heart!
Improving organizations is about taking care of your people and what they care about.
And in the sentence “what they care about“, the important word is not “what” (it’s none of your business) nor is it “care” (how they do it: again, it’s personal to them). What’s important is “they“.
- If you want money in your pocket as a manager, you won’t be able to motivate people.
- If you want to improve your organization’s efficiency, you won’t be able to motivate people.
- If you want to serve your customers better, you won’t be able to motivate your people.
In order to motivate your people, you need to help them identify their WIIFM factor: What’s In It For Me?
You need to ensure your people have identified what motivates them (but they’ll tell you only if they want to). You need to provide them with the support they need from you.
By instituting a permanent Dialogue between your people regarding what and how they want to contribute to the world, you will be able to fuel the change your organization desperately needs. By building on what works for them, they’ll build an organization that will also:
- work well (efficiency)
- provide your customers what they want (efficacy)
- and help them fulfill their dreams
- which may, in the end, provide some earning for you (and them) as a side effect.
Of course, you need to trust your people to be able to come to an agreement about making a profitable company. But do you sincerely think they’ll imagine something that can’t pay their salary?
If you don’t trust your people, they’ll notice and they won’t trust you. Self-fulfilling prophecy.
Try giving first and see what happens. Only a bit, something that you won’t regret afterwards. Notice how it comes back, sometimes bigger. Then, next time, gives a bit more. And a bit bigger next time.
Then ask your people now that you’ve rebuild a trust relationship what they would like from you first.
And then give it to them.