Identify those things which do not focus on the goal of creating and thriving and either get rid of them or minimize them as much as possible. This enables us to take our focus off of activities that are unimportant and put it where it will have the most impact.
Business is complicated enough. Yet we unintentionally make it more so by focusing on programs, incentives, policies and other so-called balancing agents meant to make things easier. But in the end they only complicate.
For example, how many times have you heard discussions about the difficulties of employee time keeping system, the computer/internet policies or the health insurance program. How does that help our bottom line?
The way for an organization to thrive is to create: products, services, intellectual property, ideas, innovations... But much of an organization's resources are focused on initiatives or goals that merely sustain. They are the traditional objects all companies feel are necessary to running a business. They are either sacred cows of management or employees and they are handled in very traditional ways.
Many "benefits" were created to take off worry from the employee so they could focus on their work. For example, giving an employee three weeks of vacation gives the employee the freedom to know that at any time they could take time off. Yet vacation is so regulated that it becomes a distraction to enter in hours, days of work and vacation. It becomes a burden to track the information.
Changing these is not only procedural, but psychological as those involved don't know any other way to manage these objects. Their basis has not been challenged.
By following what is call Double-Feedback Learning, we don't make decisions soley based from what we know. Rather we challenge our assumptions as to why and how we know these things. When we challenge the very basis for our actions, for our programs, we can make some real change for the better.
For example the following are traditionally governed givens to varying degrees:
- Sick pay
- Hours of work, including lunch and breaks
- Employee insurance (mainly health)
- I.T. resources
- Work areas
- Proper work attire
- Performance evaluations
- Employee motivation & incentive programs
- Wellness programs
- Coffee, Water & cafeterias
Yet the governance of these only sustain, they don't create, nor do they help us focus on what is truely important.
- "Why do we give cell phones to our employees? Is there another way to do this?"
- "We give five days of sick leave to all employees. Why? What activities are involved with the governance of this that take employees away from focusing on their work? Can this be done another way?"
- "Performance evaluations are poorly done and everyone knows it but no one will admit it. Some managers don't do it at all and if they do they throw it together or force their employees to come up with something to write down. And it takes a huge amount of time. What are the goals? Can we simplify this? Do we need this at all? Can we push the evaluation to other levels of the organization? What other ways might we do this?"
- Give those who need cell phones an extra $50 a month and allow the employees to choose their carrier, phone and plan. Sure the company may get a discount if they were all on one plan, but often times the maintenance of cell phones and corporate plans far outweighs the monitary discount. Instead, get an employee deal and allow the employees to decide.
- Why have sick days at all? Maybe cover everything (sick, vacation, etc) and give a guideline that all employees get three weeks of time off, not including holidays. They decide how to use it and it is tracked between them and their direct manager only. Or allow the managers to work out time off with their employees. Some may allow them to take time off whenever they want, as long as the work gets done. Others may want to keep track.
- Maybe create a mechanism for constant feedback which would alleviate the necessity to evaluate once a year. Create a prediction market on all employees. Or give the employees a 360 degree evaluation, sent out on their anniversary. Or...?