There are certain things we all do, activities, opinions and more, that are negative, sometimes devastating for our organization, our performance and, in the end, our result.
I hereby advice you all to simply put these things, these destructive forces, up on your own wall of shame.
When someone forgets about this really bad habits and contra productive things, they have to stand in the corner for some time, sing any song by Justin Bieber or wear that stupid hat you have. It is time we quit this nonsense right?
I hereby present to you the first five “things” to put on your wall of shame, later you can keep on filling the wall, but let us start here.
- Blame game
- Refuse change
- Meeting marathon
Delaying things to another day, not dealing what needs your attention, is called procrastination. This is not very clever at all actually. It might be good for you today, this exact moment, but very soon this activity you are postponing is going to come back for you. There are tons of research showing that productive people are the ones that manages activities timely and according to priority. There are no research at all, besides in your head maybe to motivate your own procrastination, saying anything about the gains of not dealing what needs to be done. Simply do not do this, learn to prioritize, do quick things at once instead of using a few minutes to write them down. Each time you postpone a task it gains complexity and time needed to finalize it. There are no excuses, as a famous sport brand say, “Just do it”. Put procrastination, in big red letters, on your wall of shame!
Continuous improvement, Kanban, Six Sigma and many other ideas and methods are all about the same, never stop improving things. Complaining, or finding problems/issues, are actually a creative process, only it has to end up in a suggestion to effectively manage that issue to be good. Otherwise, it is simply whining and has no place in a modern organization. Always when I help people implement process governance, including continuous improvements, I have people repeating all the time, like a game, there can be no more complaining. At the end of every complaint there is a way out, a fix, for the issue that person is complaining about. Corporate whiners are energy thieves, however they can become our best friends if we enable, stimulate and reward improvements. I have personally seen how people just in a few weeks, becomes positive forces, eager to contribute, instead of negative bores complaining about almost everything. You all have to excuse me, but not doing continuous improvement is simply dumb.
I cannot even count the times I overheard or even listened in, on support calls, only to hear the person saying something like “This is not part of our responsibility, I will connect you to x” since a user has problems with any solution fully or partially managed by 3rd party. This is a very unproductive reply, totally lacks responsibility and will only make the user mad. The only thing the user wants is to get to work again, to have the issue resolved. The user is not even remotely interested in who manages what, this is our concern, an INTERNAL matter. The other side of the blame game, that is equally negative, is focusing on who´s fault something is, rather than trying to solve the issue at hand. In some cultures, for example the one I am living in (Brasil), people seem to be almost ignorant about solving the problem, they only strive to find the guilty party to give them a portion of their anger. The blame game is childish, irresponsible and solves absolutely nothing. You are responsible and you need to make sure that they ones you depend on performs their part, this is not, and will never be, part of what the client has to deal with, or should even know about.
This is how we always made things here. Wow, really? Therefore, let´s not evolve then, let us stay this way forever, let us build a castle in the comfort zone and never leave. For a while it will surely be comfortable, almost dreamy, but very soon the castle will be a dark and cold place, holding you back, keeping you from being successful. You can be very sure of one thing, managing change needs to be part of your organization culture. Change is constant, technology, the market place, trends and a lot more, to stay in the game we need to be part of these changes. Making change work for us instead of against us. One way of mastering this is to really consider the human element, deep down people do not like change, they might say it, but it makes us unsafe, sometimes even afraid, since we are leaving our comfort zone. Put your efforts on the human element when managing change and I promise you things will go your way. This is even more relevant today, for example considering forces such as disruptive technology.
You need to include these 12 people in that meeting to get all relevant information, decision power needed and buy-in. Accidently these 12 people are also wanted in a lot of other meetings, they are in fact MFPs (Most Frequent Participants) in most meetings. So, get in line, it will take some time to get them all in the same meeting room. Again, wow, this is not very productive isn´t it? Meetings are great and can be very effective if managed the right way. Kill all discussion clubs with 30 people ventilating about something that is already well known and ready for decision or, even worse, lacks information and should be more thoroughly analyzed. Some of you might remember my post about how the RACI matrix can help you manage your meetings more effectively. Besides maintaining a well-balanced crowd you should always keep meetings short, to the point and be properly documented, in simple but informative meeting notes. I am not joking, the RACI matrix will at least take away 50-% of your meetings, do not be a MFP if that is not required by your job role. Even then, most of the time you need to stay informed, which means getting the information but not necessarily participating in the meetings.
Ok, this is five things to put on your wall, feel free to add more things that you think should not be part of what happens in your organization. This is not difficult, but making this work, as always, will need some work, incentives and much more. However, this step, the first one, is very important to make people aware of the negative things they do.