If you dislike theory, and seek only “Practical action”; That is unfortunate. Anything you do is founded upon a theory of some sort, and eschewing theory merely means that your decisions are being misdirected by some bad theory which you do not know about.
– Elliot Jaques; Requisite Organization
Within the team building and managerial leadership world there is so much information and Jargon Monoxide (wish I came up with this phrase Bob Sutton shared what this means on his blog) that everyone feels overwhelmed. The challenge is determining what works within organizations is complex. Beliefs, false ideas, reinforced negative theories of work, personal fallacies about competence, improper systems in place for promotions, onboarding and hiring.
In management as well as team development humans and behaviors do not operate in the same short term cause-effect process that machines do. When something goes wrong we want to blame people, not processes or systems. Because “someone must have screwed up somewhere, and I know it wasn’t me”.
Has this happened to you, In your work or life? Only to later talk to the person and realize that they were working just as hard as you-BUT some process, policy or procedure held up the work getting completed.
I am not excusing under-performance or human errors they happen-I am just asking you to think and explore the system in which your work is done and to consider,
…why would a smart, well intentioned person who is like me; purposely do something to negatively affect the work of all those around them?
I like to separate the responses of into 3 parts;
*An organizational culture that is dedicated to telling the truth, even when uncomfortable.
*Decisions are based upon evidence that can be replicated and examined by peers within and outside of your field.
*You are prepared to change or abandon your processes and thought IF better evidence and Truth are found that shows a better way to do something.
*There are secondary sources (academic journals, peer reviewed articles, existing Body of Knowledge, etc…) that are applicable and provide evidence for what you are doing.
*Organizational, Team and individual exploration for risks and drawbacks of what is recommended. Everything has side effects-There is no “Silver Bullet Solution”
Some of my favorite sources for Evidence in team development & Managerial Leadership in addition to my blog;
There are more and if your read these you will be alright.
*This term is from Elliot Jaques-Life & Behavior of Living Organisms;
*Organizations and management theory is rife with unicorns – and we hold deeply onto these because much of the foundation for our management is from the same land that the unicorns came from in the first place.
*People believe and may have evidence for “unicorns” and they may even turn out to work very effectively.
*For an example of a Unicorn; *Pay-For-Performance FAILS
*For this exploration I turn to Harry Frankfurt-On Bullshit;
*Bullshit is more extreme than “unicorns” because the person knows they are attempting to be deceitful.
*We find Bullshit in all corners of the world especially when it comes to management. To counter-act the harmful effects that Bullshit can have upon your career refer back to the evidence side of the chart.
Share more resources and places to find evidence based management. I would love to talk, share and discuss your unicorns and how together we can make your team and leaders better.
michael cardus is create-learning
image from Free Extras