Winning support requires more than packaged positions and slogans. Building a ground swell or promising does not equate to a strong conviction. Emotions ebb as well as escalate based on personal assessments.Read More
I decided on my doctoral thesis topic after reading Steven Kerr’s 1975 article, The Folly of Rewarding A When Hoping for B, in the Academy of Management Journal (volume 18, pps.769-782). In the decades since this published, one might assume that organizations revised their reward systems to match their current strategy. Unfortunately, many have not.Read More
The childhood fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk leads us to believe that it is possible to toss out a handful of magic seeds and instantly garner overnight success. Leaders trying to implement a culture change within their organizations may mistakenly believe this same kind of “magic” is possible. Unfortunately, organizational change through cultivating a culture of engagement requires more deliberate actions over a longer period of time. Past cultural transformational efforts, such as six sigma practices, visionary transformations, or various other change efforts, proves the case. Depending on the research study, the success rate of these change efforts varies between 9% and 30%. Even the high end findings are not very encouraging. It is clear that wishing for change and implementing it are very different.Read More
Telling, Selling, Tracking and Engaging
It is fair to say that the adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same” does not apply to leadership. The trends in leadership practices has actually been shifting significantly; from leaders assuming the sole decision-making role based on the premise that front line workers lacked business acumen, to leaders relying on their talented workforce for innovation and insights. Given the number of theories, the amount of jargon, and marketplace challenges, this shift has been a rocky one.Read More
Charles Morrow’s article, Myths of Management, recounts the “cobra effect” or how reward systems plans do not always produce the expected consequences. During India’s colonial period, Britain sought to rid the continent of cobras. A bounty for dead cobras was instituted with the expectation that the cobras could be either eliminated or substantially reduced. Instead, the opposite happened. Residents started to raise cobras so they could have a steady stream of reward income.
Innovation. The very word conjures breakthrough products, magazine covers, and celebrity status. But those associations are too good to be the whole story. It requires a closer, more balanced, look. Innovation comes at a cost to leaders, teams and the organization.
Organizational Culture and Policy Change
In my last post, “Which is More Detrimental: Power or Powerlessness?“, I redefined the term “power” to challenge common misconceptions and introduced the seven levers necessary to effectively wield power. This week, I will take an in-depth look at one power lever that is often dismissed out of sheer misunderstanding: system power.
It’s time to update the carrot and stick approach. A cartoon of a donkey hitched to a wagon with a stick in front of it with a carrot enticing the donkey highlights the problem of trying to influence action without thinking about ramifications.Read More