Saturday, December 13, 2014

Our scores dropped, let us do something

Many moons ago, an organization faced a problem. They had rolled out a survey and the survey showed a drop in some points on some parameter (I can tell you, but I would have to kill you).

And then, with remarkable, alacrity, along came a program that was touted as the solution to all ills related to survey points dropping down.

Consultants were engaged. A master program was created. Supporting technology was conceptualized and all budgets for the project were green lighted. The portal was built. Calendars were cleared out. Sessions were organized. Master trainers were trained and created. These master trainers then spread the message among the minions. They did it. But then real work caught up with them. So, the boxes were ticked. And they went back to work. And the survey happened again. And they waited. With bated breath. For the next survey result. Which came. And the scores stayed there and in some cases, dropped down.

And then the sessions and the trainers were remembered again. And they rolled out the sessions again. And...

Wait. Does that sound familiar?

So, what happens here? Some hypothesis - I do not claim to have a silver bullet.

One, a disconnect at an action level. The leadership has not entirely bought into it. And I do not mean, saying the right things. Yes, the leadership has presumably spoken about it, cut ribbons, supported it, but do they really show it in their actions? And if they don't, their next levels are quick to spot the level of interest or disinterest and thereby act accordingly.

Two, ownership. Is it a KRA for the managers/leaders. If not, they won't do it - because they already have a zillion things to do (a relic of current or past KRAs). Do they see it as their program or as somebody else's program. If is it not theirs, they don't it. Remember - nobody ever washed a rental car.

Three, timing. If you do it as a reactionary measure, like all reactionary measures, it will fade away when the leadership changes. It will fade away when more important work takes over. And people can see reactionary measures by the timing. Oh there is a problem, let us react - you have people running for cover already. BOHICA.

Four, Clarity on what are we going after? Are we going after the numbers or are we going after something more fundamental. The former is a reactionary, short term approach - the latter on the other hand is a bigger change that requires mountains to be moved.

So, to conclude, the sessions did not work because the people who ran it did not believe it and their actions did not show it. Those who ran it ticked their boxes and said, "see we did our bit." Those who facilitated it ticked their boxes and said, "see we did our bit". Thankfully, there was no box for what you believed in.

(Which means, the fundamental underlying problem was lying unsolved).

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