An organization is essentially a fiction, only given meaning and power by those who believe in it, who buy in.
Over the course of the past 13 years, I’ve interacted with nearly 200 business owners who had questions about optimizing employee engagement within their organizations. It’s not that the organizations were in desperate need of help. On the contrary, some of these businesses were performing very well, and the owners of these companies simply wished to explore the possibility that some ingredients might be missing that would allow these companies to perform even better if they could be discovered.
There is a scene from the film We Are Marshall that perfectly conveys the importance of verbal communication if you truly wish to be heard and understood and to have the full significance of your statements appreciated.
Dear Clients and Friends,
I wish I were not writing this, I am cognizant of the situations and extremes I may be writing to and I pray for the best as soon as possible. We are in this together, and I want to take some time to share some guidance I have seen work in past recessions.
In the pages of The Patient Organization, I laid out the 7 Question-7 Promise Framework, which allows everyone within your company to align themselves with your mission by deciding if they can answer “yes” to questions of belonging, belief, accountability, measurement, communication, development and balance. The ultimate benefit of this process is the creation of the type of workplace environment that can power an Organizational Operating System (OOS).
The idea of developing your employees can lead you into tricky territory if you’re a business owner. On the one hand, there are reasons to not take formal steps to develop your employees that might make logical sense on a very superficial level. After all, you probably have employees on your staff that entered your workspace solely because you advertised very specific employment opportunities that they responded to.
Measuring your employees is a simple necessity that is made unnecessarily complicated by the misguided assumption that employees don’t want to be measured. In light of this erroneous supposition, many business owners - often under additional coercion supplied by their HR departments - opt to measure their employees by a set of wholly business-centric metrics that fail to account for the realities of the jobs the employees are asked to do, and the environmental limitations to performing those jobs.
In most hiring situations, the first time a candidate comes across the radar of a business is when the job seeker submits a resume to the HR department or HR representative. If the applicant appears to check all of the necessary boxes - an impressive education, and years of employment that indicate how the candidate has acquired experience and demonstrated expertise with the requisite skills - then the applicant is brought in for an interview.
When it comes to balance in the workplace, several different explanations are employed to describe what it means, and many of these definitions are correct in one respect or another. In fact, the most complete description of workplace balance incorporates multiple elements from the popular definitions of balance. This ultimately means true employee balance combines considerations of work-life balance with opportunities for thought and reflection within the workplace, while also understanding that keeping employees productive is not immutably connected with keeping employees in motion.
Quite often, one of the first obstacles to reconfiguring a business into a Patient Organization through the 7Q7P methodology is revealing to the owner of the company that he is not already at the helm of a patient organization. This is an understandable, yet nonetheless harmful misinterpretation of one or more aspects of their business which allows them to mentally remodel it to fit a layman’s definition of patience.