- Posted by J. Nirdosh Reddy
- On August 6, 2017
- Management Ideas
We know that there is a distinct difference between the daily activities of conventionally managed enterprises and high performance enterprises. In the former, we see hectic activities, people working very hard individually (as if the world is coming to an end tomorrow), blaming others when desired results are not achieved, and in the latter we see employees working in a seamless fashion, teamwork and joy in what employees are doing.
Why such a difference?
As discussed in an earlier post – what people do daily is influenced by what the supervisors review day in and day out, which is built on the organization’s mindset, which emanates from the organization’s core philosophy.
Conventionally managed enterprises are staying with age-old management practices and mindsets that have worked well for over a century. However, the world we live in has changed phenomenally. Better ways of managing an enterprise have evolved. The enterprises that adopted new business management concepts are more efficient and effective, and consequently are prospering in the increasingly competitive business environment.
Conventional business management practices
In the conventional style, management systems are focused on managing individuals and tasks. This style depends on instilling a fear of the boss – your job and hence your life depends on pleasing your boss, whether he / she is right is irrelevant. There is no thought of satisfying internal customers since the concept of internal customers was nonexistent.
This management style is built on a foundation (mindset) of getting results any which way. Actually this is what was taught in MBA courses in the past century – a good manager was one who achieved results. How one achieved results was of no concern to the bosses. (As we know now, results achieved this way are not consistent, not of good quality, not sustainable, and have ruined many enterprises.)
The underlying belief in this style is that you need to control people. Managers believe that if they don’t, there will be chaos (and who wants chaos?). It is taken for granted that there would be winners and losers, and you certainly don’t want to be a loser. So, win at any cost and trample on fellow employees if you can get away with such actions.
This style of business management has been around for well over a century, and while most enterprises were following the same style, everyone was equally impacted. Previously, you were not at risk of going out of business if you followed this style, but that is no longer true today.
The root causes for working individually rather than working in teams, fire-fighting and finger-pointing are entrenched in the conventional mindset of “results any which way” attitude and trying to control people.
We were managing this way because that is all we knew at that time. This style certainly was better than chaos.
A better way to manage – real management change
Along with technological advances, management concepts evolved. Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s teachings spawned a thought revolution. Process-based thinking and systems approach have provided enormous insights into how results are achieved. Dr. Deming expounded the notion that over 90% of the problems we experience are due to process failures and that people making mistakes account for less than 10% of the problems. This was an eye opener for many managers, including myself.
We have a better understanding of human nature – we now know that involving people is significantly more effective (and hence more profitable) than controlling people. Therefore, if you prefer the daily activities of the emerging style, you need to change the belief system and mindset first. Move from controlling your employees to involving your employees; win-lose attitude to win-win-win thinking; and, results any which way to a customer-focused, process-based and employee oriented approach.
Next, institute a business management system that reviews and ensures that your processes are properly articulated and are practiced. Keep in mind that your processes are only as good a
s they are practiced day in and day out. Embrace a continual improvement methodology that encourages all employees to pursue never ending improvement of their processes.
When the above mindset and business management systems are put in place, the nature of daily activities changes – your employees will be working in teams; working smarter not harder; suggestions for improvement proliferate; and, there is real joy in the work.
The real change comes from changes in mindset! Good luck with your transformation efforts!