For every organisation who has the foresight and understands the value proposition in undertaking what we do at MSB Max we experience dozens more who don’t seem to get the significance and practicality of what we (and so many of you out there) do – people development. Even worse, they hinder their own development buy putting up hurdles in their own way. We’ll explore a few of these obstacles.
The most frustrating thing is ALL of these naysayers are otherwise intelligent, vibrant, motivated, success orientated people, yet seem hesitant even unwilling to make a commitment to what would most likely be their most high yield decision – to invest in the development of their people and enhance their cultures.
We as experts can look in from the outside and recognise the issues and have the experience to know how valuable our help could be to their ultimate achievement. But there are ‘hurdles’ in the way of them realising this level of success!
If we developed the most incredible machine or computer device / software that would improve a business, make it ultra competitive and overcome countless issues. It’d be very sought after and universal in its appeal.
If this incredible piece of equipment took over 30 years to develop, gathered the best ideas and practices in the industry and improved on them, was scientifically proven and real world tested.
If this apparatus would make the organisation competitive into the future, resilient and proactive in an era of disruption – If it could be customised to perfectly match the organisation’s current situation and procuring this piece of equipment / device / software would not only enhance but dramatically improve their performance, productivity, profitability and sustainability every organisation would want this ‘new’ contraption. In fact they’d be lining up to get it first.
WE (People Development Companies) ARE THAT PIECE OF EQUIPMENT
We’re just not a tangible, touch it, kick it, read the manual piece of plant or equipment and what we do is with people who are more complex than any plant, equipment or system and less understood. Instead of equipment we are expertise.
Perhaps if these unwilling, non-converts and non-participants would re-read above passage substituting the references to equipment with expertise (development company) there’d be an A-HA! moment or at least a ‘Duh!’ They’d need to think about it, be wary of starting their immediate evaluation with ‘But…’ – there is no ‘But…’!! Then they may – emphasis on ‘may’ – take a leap into the obvious direction for their success.
But alas, many won’t.
The question is why? Perhaps its the Hurdles?
Is it their ignorance, hubris, business myopia… other reasons? Let’s have a look at a few of these hurdles and how to overcome them… or not.
Ignorance – here we mean the proper usage of the word being lack of knowledge not the vernacular usage of being rude. People and peoples’ behaviours are complex therefore the methods, science, interactions utilised to alter and improve people and their behaviours are very complex. So it is not surprising some heads of organisations view this area as daunting, confusing and just plain simply too hard!
Interestingly, these same heads probably don’t have any better understanding of the code written in the software they use and rely on everyday or the engineering and mechanics in any of the machinery they utilise or complete knowledge in the business methods they use even though they may be highly accredited in this areas – yet they don’t look nearly as sceptically on these areas as they do on the expertise necessary to develop their people and culture.
We can address and overcome this hurdle, for us and for them, simply with good solid information. Appeal to the person (hurdle) with whichever rhetorical tool will be best and most powerful for them. We can choose to present the information with logic (plenty of scientific studies available and real life examples). We can present a character argument (every head of any organisation wants to see their organisation reach its ultimate potential). We could take an emotional tact (the head has a responsibility to his people and wants to feel like she / he is leading by example). It may take all three, generally one will resonate more strongly – emphasise that one.
We have also had good results in these situations by getting them to take smaller initial steps to become more comfortable, develop their own understanding and see and feel some results allowing them to then invest in a more comprehensive and more highly rewarding development program.
Hubris – like a fighter jet pilot or rock star it takes a bit of hubris, pride and ego to head up an organisation. There are positive and negative sides to these however.
There is a ‘we / us ’ to the ‘me / I’ of ego; there is a confidence balance to cockiness and conceit; there is pride in accomplishing something bigger than oneself to balance the pride in the ‘I’. However, when these tip to ‘the dark side’ an organisation is in trouble and there will be no admittance of ignorance, lack of understanding or fault. This is the most difficult client to try to work with – in fact as Marshall Goldsmith states – don’t bother. Move on to where our offerings can have more fertile and productive results. After all, the seeds we plant they have to nurture for sustainable results – this means the head has to participate fully, be a true believer and continue to lead the band. Otherwise we’ve wasted all of our time.
Myopia – We often come across heads of organisations that are so acutely focussed on one particular area or areas of their organisations they are unable to see the whole picture. As a leader they have lost perspective on their true role and responsibility – to create and provide the environment for their people to deliver great performance. They get caught up in too many minutiae and not enough strategic oversight and support (being a service leader). They haven’t developed the trust and empowerment to allow their people to succeed for them. They have gotten too close to the trees to see the forest.
This ‘condition’ can be overcome with the right approach – we are very competent professionals after all. In these situations we have to build our own level of trust first before getting them to ‘see’ and acknowledge the benefits of our programs and overall help. We need to get them to realise they need to take a step back to observe the whole organisation for its betterment.
They may also have to undergo a major behavioural change themselves – the most common trait of any head of an organisation – especially ones who founded the organisation – is to realise they don’t, in fact shouldn’t ‘touch’ everything and make all the decisions! No more on that topic in this article, since it takes time and countless books are available to elaborate rather than in this forum. Initially though, just get them to understand it is a good idea to take a look at things a little more holistically and objectively.
Professional Journey Step #26
This edition’s professional journey step is, before embarking on the journey for people or cultural development assess and analyse the potential hurdles in the way which will make the exercise more difficult than necessary and perhaps even derail or lend to objectives being achieved but not taking root.
Hurdles come in many forms we’ve had a brief look at one above, the head person’s personality traits. Hurdles can also be systemic, structural or behavioural. Either way there is more to providing sustainable productive development in an organisation than simply offering a program, even a great program. For the program to be effective the road has to be cleared – hurdles have to be recognised and addressed.
Perhaps so many of these initiatives don’t reach their potential because this step is not addressed properly. We certainly acknowledge this fact at MSB Max and ensure this is taken well into account. We don’t want to waste our time anymore than our clients do and our success, particularly in our market, is directly based on our clients succeeding. We need them to benefit from our help and programs – our own future depends on it!
We hope this viewpoint is helpful to your development endeavours. We’d love to hear about your own situations and experiences with hurdles to your organisation’s development. And of course, if we can help then reach out – we exist to help you – help you!!
Enjoy the journey…