Most dissenters won’t stand out and shout at you that they hate what you’re doing to them and their comfortable old ways.
Instead they will nod, smile and agree with everything you say – and then behave as they always have.
This is the kiss of “yes”.
-Michael Hammer, Re-engineering the Corporation
The sad truth is that most business problems don’t occur just once.
Instead, you often end up playing a twisted form of “whack-a-mole” where you think you’ve solved one problem only to have another pop up right under your nose.
One of the most painful and troublesome of these is an employee “with attitude”.
Some don’t really want to work.
Others feel they are “above” anything that resembles real work as if getting their hands dirty is beneath them.
Then there is always one or two who find it easier to give excuses - or blame others - rather than actually produce results. Whether they disagree with you publicly or not, if you and your team aren’t on the same page you have problems.
Speaking of those employees, they often come with their own set of questions:
“Why do we have to do it this way?”
“Why does this concern me?”
“Why should I care?”
“Is this all worth it?"
“What’s in it for me?”
There are a lot of moving parts here. Get it right and the rewards are great. Make a major mistake in this area and you could be toast.
Recent history has shown that corporate train wrecks are never pretty even whenif there is usually something salvageable from the wreckage.
“We can expect resistance and it can take many forms, both subtle and the not-so-subtle. Human beings’ innate resistance to change is the most perplexing, annoying, distressing, and confusing part… (but) resistance to change is natural and inevitable.
To think that it won’t occur… is a fatal mistake.
Most dissenters won’t stand out and shout at you that they hate what you’re doing to them and their comfortable old ways. Instead they will nod, smile and agree with everything you say – and then behave as they always have.
This is the kiss of “yes”. - Michael Hammer, Re-engineering the Corporation
And you need to remember that if it’s an employee who’s in trouble rather than the your company, meeting this quarter's sales target, or one of your pet projects, it can become just as complex.
Few people (long-term employee’s?) understand their old way of “doing business” is often what led to problems in the first place.
Moreover, while we think of “frozen accidents” or “lock-in” as a byproduct of the high tech economy or information products, it can also apply to situations (mistakes) that are often repeated (iterated) from project to project or from employee to employee.
“Lock-in” can be positive for the project or other concerned parties, but it can also be negative leading you to drift further off course every day.
Again, internal structure and attitude are crucial. Yeah, I know. We're talking "culture" here.
But it's a much bigger deal than you might think. Really!
When Peter Thiel wrote that first large (as in $150 million) check to the AirBnb founders, they asked him if he had any business advice for them. He did.
He said "Don't f*ck up the culture."
He didn't say to immediately implement poorly thought out 360 reviews (are you paying attention Google?).
He didn't tell them to build out their HR department or hire a Silicon Valley wizard to run the show or buy a couple of private jets (I'm pointing my finger at WeWork now).
Instead he simply told them not to screw with what was already working and attracting great employees, excited hosts, and a lot of happy guests.
Being the right way makes doing the right thing so much easier. Poorly communicated proposals and goals do not travel well.
Flexibility may be a prized talent for the successful company of the 21st century, but ambiguity is not.
*Featured post photo by Franck V. on Unsplash