Thinking Outside the Litter Box
Very recently, brand new
carpeting was installed at the Rosenberg home as part of a
much delayed remodeling. Any remodeling project, of a home or
of a business practice, is complicated, often more expensive
than envisioned and often full of unexpected
Soon after the arrival of the new
carpet, the HR cat and the HR dog, Kamala, experienced
gastro-intestinal distress, which was relieved on our new
course, this did not please the rest of the family who had the
clean-up duty as well as the concern about the health of the
family pets. Nonetheless, the unexpected mess was dealt with,
cleaned up, and we moved on. In fact, the HR animals may
simply have been informing us that they were concerned about
all this remodeling and wanted to make a point that they were
not consulted in the choice of color, texture or
it is often with business remodeling. When plans are announced
for a process change, an outsourcing, the replacement of
technology or a service delivery change of any kind, an
atmosphere of uncertainty is created for the employees, the
managers and, in fact, even for the clients (not to mention
the employees pets).
This is often especially true of
process changes involving automation. The promises made by the
vendors sales and marketing staff may not come to pass the
way you expected when the marketers leave the scene and the
implementation staff arrives. Actually, at this point, its
probable that many of the vendor staff will have already found
other positions and left the project team.
human resources colleagues report that when human resources
information system (HRIS), are installed, the cost is
generally considerably higher than it was thought to be
initially and the frustrations follow the cost-line on the
chart in terms of causing blood pressure problems for staff.
The outcome is certainly different than the old way of doing
business, (i.e., the legacy system), but it is not always a
totally positive difference.
chorus of employees can still be heard long after the
implementation saying, "Why did we have to do this?" "If only
the old system remained!" "Nobody consulted me before the
choice was made!" These protests sparked by dissatisfaction
and frustration can hurt productivity and lead to requirements
to engage in "clean-up."
Every innovation means change.
Every change causes uncertainty, and every manager must become
a controller or mitigator of uncertainty to be successful in
his or her career, let alone in the particular project du
control of uncertainty is the critical management skill of the
21st Century. It requires a consultative style, mixed with
vision and a respect for the opinion of others. Of course, a
strong sense of humor and empathy towards those affected
represent key skills as well.
While the technical details of
some new innovation or automation change can be gleaned from
the technical experts who are critical to the implementation
of the project itself, these other components, such as the
overall vision and the ability to move other people toward
sharing that vision, are much more elusive.
real art in process improvement is not the art of the
accountant or of the technician. It is the art of the leader
who sees a positive vision of the future, and offers the
organization, and its employees help, caring and the ability
to think outside of the litter box!
P.S. Have you purchased your very
own copy of the HR Doctors book, Dont Walk by Something
Wrong!?? Its never too late! Try http://www.amazon.com/!