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Right Intention; Wrong Solution!

by Nov 12, 20192 comments

In my most recent book, The Bellwether Effect, I list the eight things that we tend to do in modern organizations that turn off (demotivate) employees so thoroughly that 80% of the population would give up their day jobs if they had a free choice. (I also describe the solutions to this!).

One of the reasons for this is that sometimes, leaders inexplicably do things that meet their needs, but NOT those of their employees. Let me give you an example:

Recently I was in a major healthcare system. Pasted on the walls throughout the entire system was something called a “Patient Declaration of Values”. I asked the (very professional and competent) nurse standing in front of me if she was familiar with this, and she acknowledged that she was. I asked her if she could tell me what it said, and she replied that she hadn’t got a clue! She turned around to look at it and then turned back to me, observing, “It says, ‘Be a good person’”.

So how does this work?  The Bellwether Effect is the practice of leaders scanning the business and competitive landscape, observing the “best practices” of others, and copying them. Seeing that “Values Statements” are widely in use, management decides to run a workshop, craft a six-point statement of values, print and distribute copies throughout the organization, and run a half-day training program, so they can check off the “Values Statement” box on their “to do” list.  Is there a better way to do this?

Have there been any management decisions in your organization that are the result of CYA or “check the box” initiatives that met the needs of management but do not advance the culture of the organization, align the organization to a higher purpose or turn on (inspire) employees, causing them to LIVE their passion and achieve extraordinary results?