One "How To Create The Conditions To Allow Engagement"
Two "How Directive Behaviour Causes Disengagement."
Three "What An Engaged Workforce Is Capable Of"
Audio Only "What An Engaged Workforce Is Capable Of"
Unique Consulting "Workforce Engagement Presentation"
"Sustainable Improvement Through Employee Engagement"
If the video will not play please reset your video player to the windows default.
The 2010 European Breaking the Mould Webinar recording
The 2010 North American Breaking the Mould Webinar recording
The Keele University 2007 "Guru" Lecture, or The E-Pop Video
Ben Simontons Videos:
Your most important leadership skill: Listening.
What is the goal of managing people?
What is Leadership?
Employee Engagement – What + How?
FreQuently Asked Questions.
Click the Question from the webinar or lecture to find the answer.
Questions from the European Breaking the Mould Webinars, November 2010.
A. The BtM Approach does not vary between small and large companies.
In each situation the deliverable is engagement and in each case the strategy is the same.
1. The "Breaking the Mould" implementer arrives on site.
2. The implementer creates the environment that allows change to occur.
3. The implementer transfers these skills to the host organisation to allow the transformation to be sustained.
4. The implementer departs leaving a solid process in place supported by the new skills given to the host organisation.
5. The host organisation continues to measure the ongoing ROI from the implementation and the benefits accrued from the sustained performance improvement.
The difference between small and large organisations is not in the approach but simply in the number of man hours that it takes to service the organisation.
Key to the process is the feedback that is given to the workforce.
To deliver this feedback we have to collect the ideas that allow us to give the feedback and that means speaking to every individual on a regular basis.
If we leave it as a loose arrangement like “On a regular basis” then history shows that it will not be kept up and the change will not occur.
For each implementation the organisation commits to that face to face contact, at a time and frequency that suits the organisation and causes the least disruption.
A chimney sweep in Glasgow gathered all his 25 staff together for an hour before they went home on Friday. The total time needed to create engagement for this organisation was one day per week for three months.
A National Health Hospital would not be able to get the staff from even a single ward together in the same place at one time so would require regular one on ones with all of the staff involved at regular, no more than a week, intervals.
This sort of high involvement workload however would not be a barrier to the implementation.
The initial implementation in a large organisation would be with a small semi-autonomous group who, as they became engaged, would carry the seeds and the skills necessary to other groups within the organisation.
Thus an initial low risk, low cost implementation in one group within the organisation would provide the organisation with their own skilled implementers who would then take the process to other groups while the BtM implementer took on more of a mentoring/coaching role. Eventually relinquishing that too as the workforce became more engaged and more capable of maintaining their own environment.
A. Engagement is about caring for the job that you do and, for a front line operator, the major concern is for the job that the operator is doing, how to do it better how to avoid delays how to be more efficient. If an employees job is to examine the purpose of his organisation the Breaking the Mould process will allow him to do it more effectively. If it is his job to clean spark plugs, the same applies, but when we allow the workforce to engage the crossovers can be astonishing.
Jack Stack in his book “The Great Game Of Business” told a story about when he was a plant manager and the purpose of his plant was to recondition truck engines. The plant was losing money so Jack, a great believer in engagement, used his workforces experience and ideas to make the plant as efficient and cost effective as their collective talent possibly could. After 18 months and still not making money Jack was forced to call it a day and after thanking his workforce for all their help announced that the plant had not been able to make a profit and therefore would have to close.
The foreman of his engaged workforce said “We have already thought about that. Would you like to hear our plans for a rework of the line?” Jack listened, they completely changed their product and using the same number of people and the same machines put the plant into profit for the first time using the idea for a completely new direction that came from a workforce who had been allowed to engage.
The purpose of Breaking the Mould is to deliver engagement. With an engaged workforce, anything can happen, including a redefinition of the purpose of the organisation.
A. The ideas that are collected during the Breaking the Mopuld process are not an aspect of engagement, they are the seeds that allow engagement to occur.
It is difficult to understand what is meant by “aspects of engagement.” When people engage they care about what they do and when they care they are not selective about what they care about. An engaged employee will be just as imaginative and intelligent about safety performance as he is about production or the shift rota.
A. There is a perception that we cannot allow the workforce control because if we do then chaos will result.
The reality is that everybody in the workforce knows what their job is. They want to do that job well and the improvements they come up with are usually to help them to do their job better.
At the same time they are also aware of the overall product of the organisation.
The Breaking the Mould process creates the conduit to allow the workforces ideas for improvement to be heard by management.
It is management who decide whether or not to implement those ideas.
Breaking the Mould does not control or judge ideas, Breaking the Mould simply allows them to start flowing.
Q. We have had our process upgraded by efficiency experts, so employees are performing at capacity already. How can you be sure we can get even more ideas and better performance when we don't see more room for improvement?
A. One of the purposes of collecting ideas for improvement from the workforce is that the people who do the job are the people who know how to do the job.
An external expert is unlikely to know how to make each individuals performance better and even if the external expert does have a brilliant idea the workforce will resist implementing it because it is presented as something that management want them to do. Most workforces have had enough of management “Good Ideas” and at best will pretend to accept it until managements attention falters then they will return to the status quo, or they will just ignore it.
When managers set performance expectations for the workforce they are fond of setting what they call “Stretch Targets”
The reason for this is not to stretch the performance of the workforce but to pretend that the workforce will have difficulty achieving those targets then when the workforce fail to achieve those targets management can say that they knew they would not achieve them, that is what stretch target means.
The real reason that management targets are never achieved is because they are targets that are imposed on the workforce. They have the effect of telling the workforce the level of performance that management expects and the “telling” creates resistance.
Thus when management can’t see any room for improvement it is because they can’t see anything else they could “tell” the workforce to do.
The workforce on the other hand have their heads constantly full of ideas for practical improvements that they have never shared with management, or they have tried to share them and been ignored.
The Breaking the Mould process deliberately avoids this false plateau of performance by never telling anyone what to do.
By asking the workforce for their own ideas for improvements Breaking the Mould achieves two things.
One that we get a whole host of practical ideas for improvement that the “Expert” and “Management” had no idea existed.
Second, by giving feedback to every individual who contributes an idea we change the way that the workforce feel about what they do, we allow them to engage.
When that happens they will set their own targets for performance and safety.
History has shown that targets set by the workforce are always higher than the stretchiest of stretch targets set by management and, unlike stretch targets, they will almost always be achieved because they are the workforces own targets, not some random numbers that have been forced on them by a management who don’t have the first idea about what their job actually entails.
A. The performance improvements we have documented here come from Oil Rigs but the industry from which the figures were gathered is not significant.
The deliverable of the Breaking the Mould process is engagement.
Engagement is about the way that people feel about what they do.
By allowing the workforce to engage we change the way that they feel about what they do and the difference in their performance is phenomenal but it has less to do with what they are doing and more to do with the way they feel about what they are doing.
In a white collar environment if people are not engaged they will not use their experience, their intelligence or their imagination and while we have no figures from a white collar environment to show what happens when they do start using their minds, we have no reason to believe that the results will be any different from when the workers on an oil rig were allowed to start using theirs.
An interesting Quote from an American Ford employee upon his retirement was “For forty years you have paid me to use my hands, for no extra money you could also have used my mind.”
A. In the normal way of things we could expect the consultant to spend some time convincing the manager of the value of a process by explaining how valuable his workforce would become, what he had to do to support the process and why it would improve the way that he ran his business.
All of these approaches come with the inference that the manager himself is not doing the best job.
Any manager would find that very uncomfortable to contemplate, especially coming from a third party who does not even understand what his job is.
If we try to help management to see the value of what is going on then we risk creating in them the same resistance to change that they create in the workforce.
Instead, when we go on site, the manager is only aware that the implementer is collecting ideas from the workforce, a very non threatening position since none are implemented without the manager’s approval.
Collecting these ideas has two effects, one is to make practical changes to process that result in measurable performance improvements. These are tangible and can be measured on the bottom line. The second result is the change in the way that the workforce feel about what they do because they are being listened to, they are being respected, they can see that they are being valued.
The practical changes and the change in the way that the workforce feel together create massive measurable performance improvements.
The manager is kept informed of these improvements on a regular basis and eventually has to ask what is happening if only so that he can have a response ready when his manager asks him what has happened to change his departments performance so radically.
When the manager asks what is going on is when the implementer can tell him what is happening and how he can support it.
If the implementer try’s to tell the manager before he asks he will create the resistance that will make the manager resist any changes.
When the manager asks it indicates his willingness to listen.
The only person that we need to show the value of what we do is the person who signs the cheque to start the implementation.
That person by looking at the results of previous implementations can make the decision to go ahead is a simple business decision based on the ROI that he expects to achieve from the implementation.
Nobody else needs to know what is about to happen and if we attempt to tell them then we run the risk of failure by creating the resistance that comes with telling people what you expect them to do.
A. The deliverable of BtM is engagement.
When employees engage they do not choose in which areas of their employment they will engage.
Engagement is about the way that employees feel about their job and when they engage it is without distinction for performance or health and wellbeing.
On the graph of the value of performance improvement ideas implemented we said that on average fifty percent of the ideas submitted are safety ideas.
Safety ideas are difficult to quantify in terms of their financial impact so they don’t appear as a measurable change to the bottom line but because the workforce is now engaged they are as active in reviewing the safety of an operation as they are its efficiency.
A. Employees are suspicious of management driven initiatives because their entire working experience has been punctuated with them.
Management get an idea then they impose that idea on a workforce without any consultation or understanding of the environment they are trying to change.
Of course they are suspicious, that is why BtM is not presented as another management good idea. If it were it might be as effective as the rest of the ideas the workforce have seen them come and go which they know they only have to wait until management get sick of pushing then they will go away.
Breaking the Mould is presented as an idea from management, because they pay for its implementation, but that is where the association with management stops. The ideas for improvement are collected from the crews, the feedback they get comes initially from the implementer, and the crews see the effect of their ideas on the environment in which they work.
Instead of presenting BtM as a management good idea that they must comply with, each individual chooses to become involved. Some choose quicker than others and the speed of their choice depends on their personality and their own accumulated experience and treatment by management.
The only thing we have ever found that affects the speed of engagement is that if you try to speed it up you will create the resistance that prevents it from happening.
Create the environment that allows it to occur, then be patient.
A. By assuming that the workforce are not capable of a task we never give them the task to do and therefore fulfil our own prophesy.
In reality all employees take care of their own family budget, they spend money, they save money, they invest money, they own property, they give to charity.
The assumption in this question, that our employees are somehow inferior and therefore incapable, is the same assumption that drives the behaviour of the managers who prevent their workforce from fulfilling their real potential.
By assuming that they know what that potential is most managers set the bar way too low and therefore fail to begin to understand what their workforce is capable of.
If you treat a person the way you expect them to be, that is what they will become. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
Q. Do you have any idea of the impact and pressures of the outside world when trying to set up an employee engagement programme/ideas - employees are influenced by lots of outside forces what have implications at work? From Margaret Duggan
A. This is not a question that has ever been raised and in BtM implementations we have never heard that outside forces ever had any implications on a project.
If they did we have to assume that Breaking the Mould, having opened up the channels of communication with management, the workforce would feel more inclined to involve management in those issues if they felt the need to, or felt that management would be able to help.
Our experience is that employees normally keep their home life separate from their work life. This may be because when they are unhappy at work they don’t want that unhappiness to spill over into their personal lives where they are in control and therefore able to pursue happiness.
At work the employee is not in control and is at the mercy of the organisation. That situation does not allow him to contribute or engage.
We can only assume that when the employee becomes engaged at work he will similarly want to protect the work environment, in which he has become engaged and is content, from any negative influences that might spill over from his personal life.
Questions from the North American Breaking the Mould Webinars, Oct 2010.
Q. Did workers become involved in problem definition and solution development or were the suggestions lateraled to a management
team for implementation?
A: The deliverable for Breaking the Mould is engagement.
The problem definition and solution development deliberately involves the workforce because it is that involvement that allows them to engage.
In addition the workforce being the ones who identified the problem are the people who most often come up with intuitive and workable solutions while management or a third party working group will most often fail to understand the problem or be able to develop workable solutions based on the fact that they have no intimate knowledge of the work affected by the problem.
Q. I've not read your book and wonder whether you might spend a moment, outlining
what the major components of your methodology is
A: The major components are listed on the front page of the Breaking the Mould Website.
- The "Breaking the Mould" implementer arrives on site,
- The implementer creates the environment that allows change to occur.
- The implementer transfers these skills to the host organisation to allow the transformation to be sustained.
- The implementer departs leaving a solid process in place supported by the new skills given to the host organisation.
- The host organisation continues to measure the ongoing ROI from the implementation and the benefits accrued from the sustained performance improvement.
Anyone can list the parts of a car but it takes a mechanic to put it together and make it work.
Q. Peter; if there's a challenge measuring the outcome of the suggestions that are implemented, is it still worth proceeding?
A: Absolutely. To deliver the environment that allows the workforce to engage we have to do something different from the environment that they currently experience that prevents them from engaging.
Currently if a member of the workforce comes up with an idea the first thing that happens is that management will judge that idea and the vast majority of those ideas will be judged as frivolous or impractical or too expensive to implement, by managers who for the most part seldom visit the shop floor and can therefore have very little practical idea of the workplace on which to base their judgement.
The workforce know this so when they submit an idea it is because the individual really believes that he is helping the organisation.
Managers will judge that they are not helping and will not even bother to acknowledge the submission.
To the individual who submitted the idea this feels like a slap in the face and the next idea he comes up with he will keep to himself because nobody likes being slapped in the face.
By implementing even marginal ideas management are acknowledging that the workforce are valuable and worth listening to and the feedback they receive for the ideas they submit changes the way that they feel about what they do.
Even ideas that are not going to work, the originator still get the feedback from management that will allow him to understand that he is being listened to, that he is valuable.
Even for an unworkable idea we never lose sight of the value that the feedback has for the way the individuals in the workforce feel about what they do.
Q. Do you have a systematic model, and if so, where can we find it?
A. Yes, there is a systematic model. The Model is called “Breaking the Mould” and it is simple and has been fully documented. It has been developed specifically to allow any one to follow it and reproduce these same results.
We run training courses to give implementers the understanding of the Breaking the Mould philosophy that they need to create the environment that allows engagement to occur.
Training can be arranged by contacting the Breaking the Mould team.
Q. I've used something similar that came out of General Electric called Change Acceptance Program. The focus is on full engagement of the staff. Why is your approach any different than other models?
A.We have never come across the Change Acceptance Programme and have no direct experience of it.
By calling it change acceptance however it does sound as if management have already decided what changes they want and have created this programme to make the workforce accept it.
Breaking the Mould never imposes change.
We recognise that when we try to impose change on someone else we create the resistance that makes that change fail.
Breaking the Mould finds the change that the workforce want in order to do their jobs more effectively, then help them to get what they want.
In this way we avoid creating the resistance that makes imposed change fail.
Q. Thanks for the great session. I like your answers to the questions posted. Will we receive a recording of this session including the Q&A Session?
A. Thank you,Yes, Each attendee will receive the written answers to the question and the video of Peter recording the presentation is available on the Breaking the Mould website.
Q. Would the methodology work in an organisation that has a very high attrition rate which is inherent in some types of organisations such as accounting / consulting houses?
A. Breaking the Mould addresses the way that people feel about what they do and as far as we are aware that is not limited to any particular industry or sector.
When there is a high attrition rate it is reasonable to assume that the employees do not enjoy what they do.
Breaking the Mould creates the environment that allows them to start to take pride in what they do. As W Edwards Deming said “Remove the obstacles and count the smiles on Monday morning. Breaking the Mould removes those obstacles.
Q. What are the limitations of your methodology?
A. It is difficult to answer without knowing what you mean by limitations.
Is there a maximum size of organisation in which BtM can be implemented, no.
Is there a minimum, no.
Does it only work in specific industries, no.
Does it only work with certain nationalities, no.
Q. How can we convince leaders to experiment with your methodology when they are accustomed to a systemtic ways of measuring engagement levels?
A. By trying to convince anyone of anything we create the resistance that prevents them from engaging.
Breaking the Mould allows the workforce to engage because it is what they want to do.
Management then see the financial and productivity returns that come as a result of engagement and will decide for themselves that it is something that they need to support because of the magnitude of the performance.
At this point they make their own decision that Engagement is something they need to support and the implementer can begin the process to coach management in the behaviour and the process they need to follow to support their engaged workforce.
Q. As a middle manager, how do you get more senior management to buy into the culture of 'Breaking the Mould'.
A. As a middle manager your report to senior management should define your performance as a department.
If as a middle manager you create the environment that allows your workforce to engage then instead of presenting performance figures to senior management that allow them to question or pick holes in their performance these occasions become opportunities for senior management to celebrate your results of your workforce and therefore find out from the middle manager what they can do to support your workforce. Since this almost invariably involves senior management in less work they see greater returns for less effort on their part.
This makes it very easy for them to appreciate what is happening and to support the strategy that is producing the results.
Q. How have you applied Breaking the Mould in a university environment and what have been your results?
A. Breaking the Mould has never been applied in an academic environment but since academics are human they have the same needs for respect and support that anyone else has.
I would not hesitate to apply the process in any working environment and the academic environment has no reason to be an exception.
Q. What do you do to measure Employee Engagement and is that survey methodolgy availble to other consultants?
A. The short answer is that we don’t measure employee engagement and we never have.
Engagement is an intangible and measuring it is therefore very difficult.
When King Jigme of Bhutan ascended the throne he declared that his main concern was national happiness. When asked how he could measure that happiness he said that he would not try. What he could measure however were the things that his administration did that would allow his people to become happy.
In the same way we can measure what we do that allows people to engage, but we can’t measure their engagement.
We can also measure the change in performance of a workforce who become engaged.
The difference in performance is so marked that we have never had to look further than the change in bottom line performance for evidence of engagement.
Q. I am interested in learning more about the program.
A. In the first instance the best source of material about the Breaking the Mould process is the book “Breaking the Mould.”
The book is a collection of stories about what happened when people were allowed to engage.
These are real stories about real people and what happened when we created the environment that allowed them to engage.
The book is available from the website, www.breakingthemould.co.uk and from Amazon.
These stories will allow you to see exactly what happened and how BtM worked to create astonishing performance amongst ordinary people.
For assistance in creating an implementation contact your nearest implementer through the BtM website.
Q. How do you know that BtM will work in any organisation?
A. The Deliverable of the BtM process is an engaged workforce.
What the workforce do is important to the workforce but it is not important to the process. The rewards of an engaged workforce, improved retention, better performance, increased efficiency, do not depend on the type of work that the workforce is doing.
Unless there is a specific reason for keeping the workforce disengaged then the benefits of the engaged workforce are available to any organisation.
Q. You got good results in industrial settings where quantifying success is relatively easy. How do you expect to succeed in a white collar environment where it is harder to quantify results?
A. It is only hard to quantify results when we are not aware of the detail of the process.
Everybody who works is aware of the reason for their job and of what constitutes good performance for them.
To find out what should be measured ask the people who are doing the work, they will tell you what should be measured.
When the workforce engage they will also tell you what constitutes good performance and what they need to ensure that level of good performance is delivered.
Q. How do you deal with resistance to change?
A. Resistance to change occurs when change is imposed on the workforce. The harder that change is pushed the greater the resistance it creates. The BtM strategy for dealing with resistance to change is not to create the resistance by never imposing change.
The workforce produce the ideas that they want implemented to improve performance, they want these changes to happen to allow them to do their jobs better.
If the same idea was imposed on them by management it would cause resistance but because the workforce generated the idea there is no resistance.
Rather than overcoming resistance BtM just avoids creating it.
Q. How do you help managers to change their behaviour.
A. They seek different ways to tell the manager what to do because they see his behaviour as key to the behaviour of the workforce.
The manager has difficulty seeing that the way he behaves has any impact on the workforce so trying to change the managers behaviour is very unrewarding.
Breaking the Mould does not seek to change anybodies behaviour it simply seeks to create the environment that allows people to choose their behaviour.
When the workforce engage their performance becomes astonishing.
When the manager sees that performance he asks what he should be doing to support it.
We created the environment that allows the manager to become curious.
Then we can give him the coaching that he needs to find out how he can help.
We don’t change their behaviour we create the environment that allows the to choose to change for themselves.
Q. BtM seems similar to other shop floor driven improvement schemes, 5s, Six Sigma. What makes Breaking the Mould different?
A. Most improvement schemes focus on gathering and implementing process changes and see the physical changes made to the process as their measure of success.
Breaking the Mould uses ideas for process changes to create engagement.
The process changes can be measured and quantified but the deliverable of Breaking the Mould is engagement.
In one documented operation there were no changes made at all to a process, but over the course of the project a sustained performance improvement of over fifty percent was recorded.
What makes BtM different is that the deliverable is engagement, process improvement is a by-product of the real goal of engagement.
Q. Do you think you can use this process to help turn around a company that has been beaten during the recession to the point that the company is again in the black?
A. Absolutely. When a workforce is not engaged the only person looking for the solutions that will get them into the black are the management.
When the workforce are engaged every single one of them are actively searching for ways to improve efficiency, avoid waste and improve their process.
Q. How long will it take to win the confidence of employees who have been disappointed with management up to now?
A. This answer does not have an answer attached to it.
On one project we had a rig foreman who was in his sixties getting ready to retire. After less than two weeks he said, and I quote.
This is making me very angry, for nearly fourty years I had put up with s**t from management and now you are showing me that none of that had to happen. The longest it has ever taken is about six months but there is no apparent correlation between any two individuals or the time that it took for them to engage.
Peoples experience of management is built up in different ways but the sum of all their experience is the way that they react today. Even then different individuals with apparently the same experience will still take very different times to change.
The only constant is having the patience to allow the change to happen know2ing that each individual is different. Applying pressure to individuals in an attempt to hurry up the process will only cause the resistance that will cause the process to fail.
Q. How long does a typical project take?
A. There is no such thing as a typical project. Every project has a different sized organisation that has different logistical issues.
The question is trying to get an average between completely different things that have different sizes of workforce and different organisational requirements. Btm deals with every situation as it comes and with experience can give the implementer a sense of how long it might take but the concept of an average time is very difficult to pin down.
Q. What makes you feel that the results of BtM are sustainable?
A. By revisiting sites where the process was implemented we see that the culture is strong and being maintained.
On one project in South America the crew created an unbelievable performance improvement in only three weeks. The implementer left that project after three months but four months after that called up the rig manager to discover how the project was progressing.
He was told that the astonishing performance improvement that had been created in the first three weeks was still being maintained.
It was being maintained not because the crew were being told what to do but because they had been allowed to discover a pride in their work that came with being allowed to engage. They were working for themselves, that is why the preference improvements that come with engagement are sustained.
Q. Employees generally don’t know how to calculate performance on business metrics. If you ask them to quantify savings, can these estimates be reliable or are they simply a gut feel?
A. There is an assumption here that most employees are incapable of understanding metrics.
This is a view that perpetuates the traditional managers need to feel that his control is the only thing that makes the workforce productive.
In fact in their non working lives most employees take care of the family budget, they make savings and investments, they own property and take positions of trust and responsibility within their community.
The only thing that prevents these same people from taking the same responsibility at work is the assumption by management that they can’t do it.
When the workforce is allowed to take responsibility their performance becomes remarkable and the manager who would not let them perform is normally the first one to ask, how did that happen?
Q. As an HR practitioner and a believer in the value of our employees and their desire to do what's right, what first steps can I take to introduce this new insight to our workforce?
A. If you try to tell your workforce what you have discovered the fact of your telling them will create resistance.
The best way is to allow them to find out for themselves.
When we implement BtM we never tell people what to do or what is expected of them.
We simply create the environment in which they are able to discover for themselves what being engaged and proud of what they do feels like.
We do this very simply by collecting their ideas for improvement and using those ideas to deliver the feedback, “Yes or No Because” to the workforce.
These ideas produce process improvement but the real target is engagement.
The feedback that you give to each person who contributes an idea is what changes the way they feel about what they do.
Even an idea you can’t use can be used to generate engagement by giving the originator the feedback, “No Because”.
That person will then go away and bring another idea, every idea handled in this way is another step towards engagement.
You don’t have to introduce the insight, just start collecting ideas and giving the right feedback. The BtM Implementers will be happy to show you how to do this to provide the environment that will allow the workforce to “get it” for themselves.
Questions from the Keele University ITMB "GURU" Lecture
If someone does not want to care about their job then there is no way that they can be made to care.
In my experience I have never met anyone who when they were given the opportunity did not start to take pride and therefore care about what they did.
Rather than seek to blame the employee for their failure to care, (A very Theory X thing to do) look to the organization the person works for and find out what it is doing that is stopping the employee from caring.
The change already exists within the workforce, we don’t have to change anything.
What has to change is the behaviour of the management that is suppressing the performance of the workforce.
We don’t drive the change we simply allow management to discover what they have been doing wrong, then stand back while the natural behaviour of the workforce reasserts itself.
In order to do this we need the buy in of senior management to sanction the project but we do not need the buy in of middle management.
Middle management are a part of the workforce like everybody else and like everybody else they want to do a good job that they can be proud of.
When middle management see what happens to performance as the workforce start to care they want to find out how it happened so that they can sustain that performance, because they too want to be part of a winning team.
There are so many different work scenarios and it would be difficult to give a definitive answer.
The military would seem to be the last bastion of theory X behaviour but my own experience as an officer in the Royal Navy and that of two officers in the USN, Commander Ben Simonton, author of 'Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed', and Captain Mike Abrashoff, author of “Its Your Ship”, suggests that the purely directive Command and Control behaviour, although still prevalent in the military is now suppressing the performance of personell who have changed from unskilled cannon fodder to highly skilled and trained technicians who if they are treated abruptly or given direct orders will do the absolute minimum to execute those orders within the letter of the law.
We, Ben Mike and myself, have all found that when we remove that destructive theory X behaviour personnel all tend to excel.
The answer is simple, and has been available as an academic argument for over fifty years.
Unfortunately most managers are practical people who spend all their time managing and have little time to spare in academic research.
What we have now is a practical, repeatable process that any manager can administer without investing uneconomic swathes of time in academic endeavour or expensive consultant driven interventions.
Not at all, because we don’t have to persuade anyone to like it.
Ownership is the natural behaviour that we exhibit that allows us to care.
Nobody persuades us to care, we do it because we prefer to care.
The reason we don’t care is not because we don’t want to. It is because of what is done to us by the organization we work for.
This sounds as if when someone stops caring it is their fault.
It is not.
When they stop caring seek out what the organization has done to stop them caring then address that problem.
We should try to stop blaming individuals for their reaction to what has been done to them by the organization.
I am positive that there are many instances where an adherence to instructions is absolutely necessary but I cannot think of any more appropriate than frontline troops in a war zone.
Captain Mike Abrashoffs book, “Its Your Ship” shows how strong and responsive to theory X commands his team became in the Gulf war when the balloon went up but he also showed that this strength came from a concensus that theory X was appropriate in this circumstance. After an action the officers were accountable to the men for the way they carried out an action and every opportunity was taken to review and improve their performance, at every level.
I am not sure from the question what they should be concerned about, underperformance?
Currently management are concerned and the workforce don’t care.
If the workforce did care then the whole workforce would be working together towards their common goal.
The Hawthorne effect describes how the workforce’s behaviour changes as a result of people paying attention to them.
Their performance increases when their performance is measured.
This is because they want to be seen to be doing a good job.
Their performance reverts when they know they are not being measured because they don’t care, they are simply working harder to look good in the results.
By allowing the workforce to care their performance is not dependent on their being measured, it is therefore a consistent sustainable improvement.
Yes, this method is much more than the temporary trick that is the Hawthorne effect.
Theory Y is useful because it allows an interactive response that uses the experience and skills of all involved to search for and implement improvement.
In this case the directive tone of this question fits firmly into the Theory X style of management. If I was an employee, or otherwise beholden to the questioner, then I would make the shortest response that I thought I could get away with because I want him to continue paying me but I don’t want to give any more than I absolutely have to.
If this question had been asked in an inclusive, Theory Y, manner I would have been happy to spend my time giving the best answer I could.
As it is, my failure to answer this question is a result of the manner in which it was asked.
I feel that exposing the example set by the tone of this question will be more useful to the rest of the students than pretending that I had not noticed or was comfortable being addressed in this way.
Good question, one that could create an endless debate without ever coming up with an answer that is right in every culture/circumstance.
So instead of trying to decide what we think would be the right thing to do for the workforce, we could simply ask the workforce how they think they ought to be rewarded.
The fear is that they will go bananas and order a Ferrari for everybody on the production line or otherwise seek a reward that will compromise the performance of the organization. This is born from the attitude of a workforce who do not care for the organization.
When the workforce care they will seek a reward that does not compromise the company because they care about their jobs and their long term future.
The reward they seek may be monetary or it may be in kind, we can be sure that it will be affordable and possible because the workforce care.
No never. When a prospective employee is interviewed that employee is keen and willing to share previous experience and skills. His or her attitude is great.
If their attitude changes it is because of what the organization has done to them to make that bad attitude, not their fault for having it.
"People Leave Managers Not Companies"
If you're losing good people, look to their manager ....the manager is the reason people stay and thrive in an organization. And he is also the reason why people leave.
Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.
Most people leave their employment because of the behaviour of their manager.
If you are interviewing somebody who has just left another company then the chances are that they left because of what their previous manager did to them.
In this case their attitude will certainly have been changed but they will be looking for a new job with a new manager who does not treat them in the same way.
If your organization has managers who understand the value of the individual and the way to behave towards employees that allows them to care then this employee will stay and enjoy a long and fruitful relationship with your company.
If you pretend that you care about him you may trick him into joining but he will leave you very soon afterwards with all the expense and wasted time that finding a replacement entails.
If the management style of your organization still does not change then his replacement will leave too, ad infinitum.