Building Inclusive Workplaces.
Struggling to realise your DEIB strategy?
Certain strategies seem to work but create unhappiness while others appear not to work at all.
Some of the most popular approaches to performance enhancement include restructuring, process improvement, lean, incentives and rewards, consequence management, business transformation, strategic planning and change management.
There have been quite a number of studies on why change efforts fail. I’ve read many of them and you probably have too. Although there is some great analysis done, lessons learned and been captured in these studies, for me, the bottom line always points in the same direction. You don’t really get the performance you want if you don’t bring your people along with you.
The key to unlocking performance, no matter which way you look at it, is people.
Point 1: It’s the people
Point 2: It’s still the people
Point 3: Yes, the people!
Obvious and easy to say but apparently, not so easy to do. If we keep getting the same answer to this puzzle, why do we keep trying to jumpstart performance in ways that don’t work well, ways that only include people as an afterthought, or worse, as a problem to be solved and a force of resistance to be overcome?
I think it’s because there is a misunderstanding of what leadership is and what leaders do. Many of us still believe that people are predictable and rational, this vision doesn’t really fit with how people really are. They are often unpredictable, emotional and driven by inherent values more strongly than by exterior drivers.
This doesn’t mean you can’t push people in one direction or another and get temporary performance. Of course, we can, and we do. Many approaches to change still rely on models of behaviour that relate to people as one element within a complicated, but predictable machine. Push this lever, throw that switch and “hey presto” things will change.
There is so much change going on these days, people getting pushed this way and that, to then being let down unceremoniously. It’s no wonder that people are increasingly more disengaged.
The Gallup survey (2017) on worker engagement showed a staggering 87% of workers worldwide are not engaged at work, findings that reveal a decreased performance on many levels. As a result, we now see many companies getting concerned about engagement but not doing anything substantially different in how they relate to their people.
We believe the key to unlocking performance is simple. It means leaders must confront the unpredictable world of people. Although not easy, the rewards are significant.
Make Performance Why-Based: We believe many of the change methodologies that are commonplace these days can often generate short-term, temporary performance improvements. Then after a while, people will migrate toward what matters most to them, to their core beliefs and deep purpose. Therefore, the first key to unlocking performance starts with a Higher Purpose (Why). The Why-Based approach addresses change from the inside out and relates to people as the source of solutions rather than a problem to be solved.
Performance = Potential – Interference: This formula, from Tim Gallwey’s ground-breaking book “The Inner Game of Tennis,” helped bring into being the professional role of coaching as we know it in business today. At WhyNot Partnering, we believe people are naturally resourceful and
creative but sometimes we get in our own way: this is interference. There are many kinds of interference, those that come from within such, as self-doubt and self-criticism. Then, there is what comes from the outside, such as a demeaning boss or an overly complicated work process that inhibits productivity and learning. This destroys performance and removing this interference is one of the best ways to unlock and grow potential.
Truly Human Leadership: Leadership that connects people with their Higher Purpose is clear, there is no lever to pull or button to push to inspire people. They find inspiration when their hearts have been touched, then they move spontaneously. We believe that Truly Human Leaders begin with themselves, getting clear about their own deep beliefs and Higher Purpose. Then they work with others to cultivate their shared purpose and vision. Leaders and followers can change their roles when needed and together learn their way through to solutions.
What we have discovered is there is a way to unlock performance that focuses on people, as a partner in co-creating a future we can all get behind. This matters because there are some real advantages to going in this direction. People will be more engaged and there will be more benefits for the business. This includes increased productivity and morale, decreases in absenteeism, ensuring improved safety and quality. These are all measurable gains in performance.
This is why we think we should focus on people. Even more importantly for us, is that people get an opportunity to do meaningful work, to feel inspired and to reach their own potential.