By Frank Treanor Best Practice Business Strategy Thought Leadership 8th June 2016

Mandate, engagement or both?

Two universal truths underpin the success of any successful business operation. Firstly, following a proven process is better than letting everyone get on with things in their own way. Secondly, people that enjoy their work will always work harder and achieve more than those who are there under duress. The problem is that these two ideals are often directly opposed to each other. Do you give the team a set of rules and targets to follow, or just create a happy atmosphere and hope for the best?

Confucius famously said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Far from just being a clever 1500-year-old quote from a Chinese philosopher, this is actually the key to creating a successful operation. You see, if you make it simpler, more engaging, and more effective to do a good job than it is to do a poor one, then you will have ticked all the boxes. So, in the end, it still all comes down to having a process which works.

What gets measured gets done!

You still need systems, measurements, and performance indicators, but they need to be the right ones for the right reasons. If you measure the wrong things, without the co-operation or understanding of those who are doing the work, then it will cause conflict rather than teamwork. If you focus improvements in the process on the same areas that the workers in that process are being measured by – you are seen to be aiming for the same goals. In demonstrating this type of co-operation and having the right measures in place, you drive positive behaviours without the need for a mandate. Make the measures relevant and focused on the business objectives, not necessarily the function.

Investment in the process will increase output in the people

Co-operation is infectious. When a change in the process is brought about collectively, and demonstrates benefits for the business commercially and its employees personally, the chances of it succeeding are increased significantly. It is a case of making the right process simpler than the maverick one, and more beneficial across the board.

The key to adoption is making it habitual, naturally accepted behaviour. You can choose to do this by mandate or by engagement with the people involved. Problems arise where people either don’t understand or don’t buy-in to the reasons for the change. Or they find that the shortcut still works better for them and relieves the downward pressure and time restraints of the role they have been asked to perform. Mandate alone simply does not work in the long run – you need to create a process which supports and encourages engagement.

e-Solutions that co-operate with culture

Technology today has advanced to the point where there are solutions available for almost everything. But to simply develop a technology solution without considering the impact on the people it affects is not really a solution at all. When we talk about co-operation within the workings of any organisation, particularly one which is battling to manage globalisation, it is not just a people issue. It is about using technology to unite every individual within the global organisation to be able to work towards the collective global goal.


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