Posts Tagged behavior

131 — Why Employees Do What They Do

 

Employees’ imaginations inspires their actions. When employees feel positive they will act positively. Leaders can create this positive situation by behaving with a clear set of desirable values such as honesty, care, trust, respect and empathy.

Think-Feel-Act

Employee’s behavior follows their imagination. We may not always notice that imagination precedes our actions, but it does.  Sports coaches know this. They ask players to practice the game in their mind. “Imagine the follow through on your (golf) swing.”

We Choose Our Attitude

Every moment, everyday each employee chooses his or her attitude, whether to be productive or not, to be creative or not, to be cooperative or not, to be timely or tardy, to stay or to leave. And every employee chooses what fits into the company’s culture, the workplace expectations, or norms.

With the right company culture people imagine bringing more to the task, being more engaged, more responsible. In a poor culture, employees imagine being less engaged.

If People Can’t Satisfy Their Desires at Work, They May Disengage, or Even Worse!

Most employees want to have a good day, feel productive, be recognized for their achievements, and go home looking forward to returning to work the next day. If the work culture does not allow this, employees will be frustrated.

Frustrated employees withdraw their energy, creativity, and responsibility. Some will resign. Others will become actively resentful, or passive-aggressive, withholding information essential to the organization’s success. In a hostile work environment, a person may even retaliate by sabotaging operations, or in extreme cases becoming homicidal.

Engagement Is Very Profitable

You can assess the cost of low employee morale and motivation by watching the increasing productivity in a developing culture. As a culture develops, productivity increases anywhere between 10 and 100 percent. This gain represents the lost productivity of companies with a poor culture. Nationally this loss is huge, in the $trillions annually.

Developing a company culture where people see themselves as excited, caring, engaged, and valued team players, is an easy, low-cost way for leaders to make major jumps in company performance, stepping well ahead of the competition. To do this see 25 Actions to Build Your Culture

cc 131 — © Barry Phegan, Ph.D.

Posted in: About Company Culture — Person and Behavior

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124 — Studies and Reports Will Not Develop a Company Culture

Culture is not a problem to be analyzed. Studies might actually make things worse. You develop your company’s culture by doing things together. It’s the only way.

Developing a culture, or merging cultures, is not like solving an operational problem, or improving a work process. To begin with, culture is not a problem. Culture is like a person. As a person do you see yourself as a problem? I didn’t think so.

If a culture is approached as if it is a problem to be “corrected” it will probably push back, just as as you would and should.

Like a Person, Culture Is Not a Problem to Be Analyzed

Imagine someone is writing a report about you. It describes your physical features, your body, your speech, you’re known skills, how you work, and perhaps — if the writer interviewed you carefully — some more intimate things such as your likes, goals, hopes and fears.

But you know that such a report would not really capture who you are — how you experience life. More particularly it could not predict what you will do in a particular situation. Words cannot capture the experience of being you, or much about why you respond in your special way to situations and people. Even you probably don’t know why you do much of what you do.

Psychologists say that 80% of our communications are non-verbal, and of the verbal part only 25% is rational. That means that at most, only 5% of what is important can possibly be captured in even the best analytic study or report.

The reasons we do what we do are largely hidden (in our subconscious) to us, and even more so, hidden to others. But that does not matter because knowing why we do things is not as important or useful as moving forward together, achieving mutually desired goals. As an employee, I am prepared to work with you to build the trust that will lead to openness and a strong relationship. Then we will each bring enthusiasm, creativity and energy. The process of building that relationship is not a looking-backwards-and-analyzing activity. Relationships require engagement, that responds moment-to-moment to our interactions as we move forward together.

It is the same with a company culture. You can only get to know or understand a culture by doing things together, working together, through long-term conversations about the little things that make life. Getting to know someone, or a company culture is a synthetic (understanding the whole as a whole) action, not an analytic (breaking the whole into its parts) problem.

Treat People As Subjects, Not Objects

Developing a company culture is something you do intimately together, rather than something you analyze. When it comes to the people side of business, it is our actions, particularly how we do what we do, that makes all the difference. Engagement will not happen if people are treated like an object — a description in a report, or a survey statistic. It will only happen when people are engaged, valued, and involved — where the workplace is open to what people would like to bring. The challenge is getting rid of the cultural blocks to people’s engagement. You learn about these blocks through action, by starting the culture change process, by doing things together.

Culture Change Is Simple, Difficult, Satisfying

A company culture is its personality. But changing a culture is more difficult than curing a dysfunctional personality or reviving a failed marriage. Changing a work culture involves the complexities of people and large groups. It is the most difficult action a manager will ever undertake.

Managers who develop their work culture admit to the difficulty, but all say it is the most rewarding and satisfying action they have ever undertaken. Rewarding because the gains in performance, in company success, are so profound. Satisfying, because the change in the quality of work life, for themselves and everyone else, is so inspiring.

cc 124 — © Barry Phegan, Ph.D.

Posted in: About Company Culture — Structure

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132 — To Understand Behavior, Look At the Situation — The Culture

A person’s behavior is information about the person’s situation. Culture is the situation. To understand culture, look at what people do. To understand behavior, look at the culture.

When something goes wrong:

      • Don’t focus on the person as if they are the problem.
      • Don’t look at the problem as if it is an independent event.
      • Do look at the situation that led to the problem.

 

“There is no event in a vacuum.” Most problems come from the system. Most system problems come from poor decisions, resulting from poor relationships and communications. These are cultural issues, which is why the culture is always part of any problem, often the root cause.

Culture Is the Context for Human Actions

What people do comes from who they are and the situation they are in — a person in a culture. People in any culture behave similarly because they have a shared sense of what is appropriate. At work, our national culture combined with the local company culture, tells us what is appropriate. Anthropologists have long known that culture is the context that explains human actions.

1-situation behavior

Personality plays a role in what happens, but as a manager you cannot change someone’s personality — and you probably should not try. The situation or company culture is the most important part to look at for two reasons:

  1. The culture is the part leaders can manage.
  2. Managing the culture has great leverage. Developing the culture lifts the whole ship, not one part — it is a very efficient allocation of management time.

cc 132 © Barry Phegan, Ph.D.

Posted in: About Company Culture — Person and Behavior

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