Call now to book a FREE consultation
0845 0945 819
Team Business Development
A unique approach to rapid business transformation
Jeremy Old's blog
When we are stressed we are emotionally charged. Our higher faculties become overwhelmed by the brain’s instinctive survival mechanism and our every impulse is to act instantly, dynamically and unthinkingly.
As a direct result of this emotional hijacking we manifest defective thinking patterns and these are pretty ruinous if we are trying to make a decision. Just at the critical moment when we need to make a rational, well thought through, and balanced appreciation of a problem, with careful evaluation of alternative solutions, we blunder through a five step sequence of C-R-I-M-E.
Read more about how stressed decision-making can distort your thinking and ruin the potential for positive outcomes...
At 70% plus, the failure rate for business transformation initiatives is staggering. It is not suprising that CEOs are put off from even trying to instigate major change.
But you don’t have to be the chairman of Toyota to benefit from Hoshin Kanri; it is equally helpful in upping the success rate of change or improvement initiatives in any complex organisational setting. And this includes small and medium sized enterprises.
Successful employee engagement is a two way process.
Not ‘who?’ but ‘why?’
When things go wrong, we are often tempted to use the ‘who?’ word, as in ‘who has got it wrong?’ or ‘who is to blame?’ Unfortunately, using the ‘who?’ word implies an individual is at fault - someone has cocked up. Moreover, asking ‘who?’ reinforces management’s implicit infallibility, in that it cannot be the design of their organization, system or process that is at fault. ‘Who?’ deflects blame to the employees and away from management.
Stress in organisations is a modern day plague impacting employee engagement, productivity and organisational learning.
Beliefs including self-beliefs can be a huge obstacle to successful learning, problem solving, planning and decision-making.
Have you ever wondered bad news seems to creep so slowly up the organisational hierarchy if it moves at all and why (too often as it seems) we hear that senior management has met bad news with disbelief? You may have also noted the danger of the messenger being shot and the whistle blower being treated as though they are the problem rather than the issues they are revealing.
Dogged resistance to change, the demonization of opponents, hysterical opposition to alternative ideas and solutions and the persistent advocacy of anachronistic and otherwise highly inappropriate solutions tend to perpetuate our organisational problems not ease them. These familiar negative character traits cause untold harm to organisational effectiveness and organisational learning and are responsible for any number of business and public sector failures.
Fortunately we now have a better understanding as to why people indulge in this irrational and destructive behaviour. And with a better understanding there is some hope of adopting a solution.
The problem arises because there is a particular facet of the brain that filters out evidence from our conscious perception, if this evidence conflicts with our beliefs. The brain is wired in a way so that we literally can’t see what we don’t already believe. When this deception occurs, we make, what the psychologists term, a ‘premature cognitive commitment’.
Are you in your rational mind at work all the time? OK, maybe you think you are, but what about the other people around you, are they?
Reinventing management thinking
Essentially the flight or flight stress response is the reason why organisations sometimes don’t work as well as management theory would predict and why so many management ideas fail to fulfil their full potential. We seriously need to reinvent management thinking.
A better understanding of organisational stress and the instinctive stress response could help managers protect passengers from threats such as the recent tragic airbus crash in the French Alps.
The terrible airbus crash of flight 4U9525 in the Southern French Alps raises a number of urgent questions that need to be addressed by the airline industry. Foremost of which is how can we be safe in an aircraft when security technology designed to keep the pilot safe from rogue passengers prevents passengers being safe from a rogue pilot?
There is probably no easy technological answer to this poser.
All the security equipment, rules, regulations and protocols in the world are incapable of protecting hapless passengers from the random attack of crazed aircrew set on causing mayhem and murder.
The solution lies less with technology and procedures and more with using modern psychology to create the right organisational culture. A culture that either prevents someone going so badly off the rails in the first place or at least helps the organisation identify problems at an earlier stage. Read more ...
What more evidence do we need that the way we run our government organisations doesn't work?
In this respect, the Rotherham child protection scandal is a case study for our times. Systemic failure is built into the archaic management design adopted by social services and other government departments throughout the UK.
Eric Pickles, the Communities secretary has parachuted government commissioners to sort the mess out. Unless they have a brief to de-commission the whole apparatus, they have a herculean task on their hands.
Can a leopard change its spots?
In essence what the commissioners are being tasked to do is get the leopard to change its spots. We must not fool ourselves that somehow Rotherham Council has been a magnet that has attracted a unique bunch of highly malevolent and incompetent employees intent on destroying the lives of children and families within their remit.
Rotherham's child protection abuses add to a growing list of public sector scandals. Collectively these alarming lapses are undermining the credibility of government agencies to deliver quality health care and social welfare.
If you want to improve things, first drill down to the root cause to see what is going wrong.
This powerful analysis of the failings of modern organisations resonates with anybody who finds themselves asking questions such as:
Jeremy Old answers these perennial questions by applying systems thinking to modern psychotherapy and practical neuroscience.
How and why changing organisational design and leadership style transforms work culture and provides real competitive advantage. Buy now from Amazon
Taking a systems approach to improving employee engagement can have an impact out of all proportion to the costs and effort involved. Free download
Management induced stress provokes low performance, compassion fatigue and mistakes that puts thousands of patients' lives at risk every day, read the white paper to learn why ...