ExpertiseTrainingInnovationEssays, LecturesCOWORKING introductionProjectsGlobal-Local ExpertiseDialogical Self Blogs contributed by.....Leadership CoachingCooperationSelf ManagementThe Inspire Group ArtistsTONlineTool BoxMagazine CO WORKINGQuick scan







Request free quickscan


LinkedIn   YouTube  

Harry get things done

This is the story of Harry. Harry is a well skilled mechanic/technician. He is third on the list of “management talents”. A high priority document for the meeting of the Board of the Global Leader in Energy Services. The Global Talent Director invites Harry to come with a plan to prepare himself for more managerial responsibilities. In half a year he will be to in his first management responsibility. He can enlist in a famous Management Institute. Interesting for the network. But….he choose not to.

Questions first

Harry is ambitious, he know he has managerial talents. He wants to influence the way the company is reaching their goals. His goals too. Okay, what can I do to prepare? I start now and ask other managers what they do. What do I want to know? What questions to ask? First. All thinking starts with “asking questions” his father told him.

His father once said: “Think first, do research before asking questions to masters and highly experienced management practitioners”. So he set down in search for questions.

A unique learning path

Harry buys a large note book, red hardcover. “What questions bother CEO’s of international companies based in Europe, America and Asia?” In newspapers, special magazines, websites, platforms. libraries, are summaries of worldwide research and statements of the economic world leaders. Harry writes in his notebook:

The strategy for Asia of international companies based in Europe and the US focus on:

  • Production for the export out of Asia and production for the local Asian market. The production for the local markets in Asia is more important.

  • When the focus is on production for the international market emphasis is on quality. Product quality and quality of all processes. Local Management is trained to be efficient and effective.

  • Creativity and innovation become the keywords when the management searches goods and services that fit in the local, Asian, market.

Management challenges

Harry writes: “What is the challenge for my company now?” Oh, oh the management has to concentrate on both. The company concentrates now on quality and efficiency. At the same time the management has to prepare for success on the local market. New products with new specifications in a competing market with different buying behaviors of clients. The importance of local management will rise.

“What is the department in a company that has the challenge to come up with the well prepared people at the right moment at the right place?” What have HR managers to tell aks Harry He looks into a recent report on the global strategy on HR. Presented by IBM (2010) after interviewing the HR managers of the Fortune 700. In his notebook Harry writes:

HR directors face three areas at the top of their attention:

  • Cultivating leaders in the area of creativity: thinking in new opportunities and reorganising the company so they can realise the new challenges

  • More collaboration. The HR directors see a lot of changes and improvements. The global companies are not good at: global team effectivity.

  • The spread of innovations all over the company is a great opportunity. A lot of critical knowledge is leaking out. More intention to preserve it. More attention to identify individuals with relevant knowledge and skills. More attention to prepare leaders for the future.

Leadership is getting things done

Harry returns to his original topic. He must learn “to get things done”. What characterizes a company where the management really get things done for a long time, not just once? He face the question: “what makes a difference between two companies? One is successful and the other is not. They are both equal in: financial recourses; all marketing and sales knowledge is available; they both have the best up to date technology; they equal in quality standards.” What makes the difference? People! their motivation; their commitment; their cooperation; their creativity.

Harry agrees. Simple. What is the unique contribution of management? Management must make the difference. Managers have the power and the obligation to make the people do what they wants them to do. Harry tests his first ideas and confronts himself with challenging statements of scholars of management:

  • “You, manager, you can think that you are powerful. But you are completely dependent on other people. You cannot realise any goal without other people. Do you think you can do all the work yourself? You can commit yourself to specific goals, but who wants to do the job for you? You depend for your success completely on the others.”

Without power

Harry sits down in his chair. His energy drops. He wants to be successful, now all looks impossible. An impossible job? Further reading clarifies that a manager should not use forcing power. Forcing and blaming, punishing only works for a short moment. The backfire is fierce. “Is there hope for me? Can anyone tell me the criteria for a successful organisation? Successful working together in a company? Successful in reaching goals and having fun too.”

Harry puts a thick book on the table. A sort of Bible they told him on the formula for success of companies who are in competition with each other. “Culture, leadership and Organisations” (2004) “The book is that big and so sophisticated and written in science language no manager will read it.” This idea motivates Harry to study. He wants to be the best.

What behaviour must people show in an organisation so the organisation is a winner in the competition on the market?

Success is in the buying actions of the client, the customer.

A lot of research. Global research. Every five years, now more then twenty years.

Based on factors identified as important for organisations. Each factor can he high or low in the ideas and the activities of the people working in a company. After a lot of study Harry created himself a profile on all these factors thinking when “I create my organisation according to this profile I will have more success on the market.” “When you put also attention to the other material factors too: finance, knowledge; sales; quality...” “Yes, yes” Harry answered his constructive critical “I”

Harry’s profile for a successful organization

Harry created a special column to score the company he is working for. He took some notes on several dimension. Some meanings are not obvious.

  • Assertiveness: to tell, express, what you want without disturbing the relation. It is about: speaking up; opening up and standing firm. It is about having the choice in a specific situation not to “give in” (avoiding) or “press” (aggressive)

Harry wants to deepen his knowledge and did some search with Google. He finds a famous experiment. It made him think. He writes in his note book:

Experiment one: twelve people are sitting in a room. On the wall of the room three sticks are projected. The sticks differ 5 centi- meters in length. Every person is asked to say what stick is the smaller one, the middle and the longest. No problem: everyone tell the “right” answer. experiment two was that of the twelve participants eleven were instructed to “see the middle stick as the longest one”. What happened is that several not instructed people in discussing with the group changed their first opinion to fit the opinion of the group. Of course these people were not happy with their behaviour, but did not know how to insist in their own observation without getting into a fight. Assertive training learns people to find a way out.

Harry reflects on his organisation and writes a profile. In his agenda he notes: “discuss this over with my boss on Tuesday”. He wants to put learning into practice.

“I must understand more about people to be able a good manager”

What are people motivated? Do they have basic drivers? Harry knows of his education at home, at school a lot about the goal in life: “to be happy in this life”. But what are the basic drivers? In several books he recognize the scheme:

All man are driven by two basic motives:

  • everyone has the drive to realise his/her talents, her/his goals, her/his targets.

  • everyone wants to belong to others.

Harry recognises. “Yes, I do. Sometimes more oriented on one drive more then on the other. Sometimes even conflicting in dominance. But, yes both must be realised. The best is to include both.”

Leading to cooperate

Reading this, Harry looks again at the research he studied before. It is immediate obvious for him: “What is missing in these research is the dimension of cooperation, collaboration.” Being able to perform better together. He looked again at the research on all the HR officials: improve cooperation is one of the three most important areas organisations must make progress.

Oh, so much literature on cooperation. “Can someone give some handy rules,” Harry mumbles. He get some help of a friend, a teacher in management.

What are the basic rules for cooperation? What are the behaviours needed? What conditions favour the development of cooperative behaviour? “In one liners please” Harry orders. Okay:

  • Basic rules for building cooperative relations. Very simple: Start with hesitate to cooperate. By this one signals you are not blind jumping into any proposal. Then, when you want, act cooperative, witch means you share the profit. Your next move depends on the act of the other: if he cooperates, you cooperate too. If he does not share, but takes all the profit alone, you do not share in the next meeting.

The skills you need.

  • know your own goal

  • realise you can reach a better performance for a long time by sharing profit then fighting only for yourself

  • be able to give first without knowing the other

  • be able to punish when the other does not cooperate

  • be able make a new start when the other gives signals of new cooperation

  • be able to keep a record of the selfish and of cooperative choices of others.

  • be able to say ‘no’ for ever

  • be able to recognise the tactic of the other

  • set long term goals

  • be able to be egoistic

Are people motivated? Yes

Yes, now I know this, Harry thinks, but what must a manager know about people more. “I know the basics, but does that mean that people are motivated to work all out by themselves?” Again Harry has doubt. After some study he writes in his notebook:

People are naturally motivated as long as they:

  • achieve objectives; do, show what they are good at; contribute to a goal that is important (laying stones or building a house for a young couple); have personal advantages in it: better salary, career opportunities, personal growth, development

People work best and are most motivated if:

  • they know the area they are responsible for; they have a very clear description of what is expected from then; they know they have a good performance; they are involved in the agreement on the tasks and the performances; the objectives are in reach; they get clear and in time feedback on the results and the way they are acting: the more direct connected to the behaviour, the bigger the impact.

What do employees expect from management?

  • put me in the right job; be a good manager: conditions, attention; focus on my strengths; keep me engaged in my job; measure my progress regally; lead me to a positive future.

Habits, habits,

“But we have a problem in our organisation”, Harry reflected. People are not educated by us. They enter with thinking skills, self management skills and cooperation,collaboration skills that fit in the lives they live. `They were probably successful with these behaviours. But can they be successful in business organisations?

Harry reflected. When change is necessary can this be realized easily? He knows he cannot easily change his habits. Can others? Harry studies the topic “change of habits” and noted in his book:

To change habits you must know what keeps them alive. Be aware of the benefits of change is not enough.

‘I know’ he commented.

  • Some about the characteristic of habits. A habit is rooted in our system in a way it acts beyond consciousness. Often before we become aware of the action. We say it is like a reflex. In sports, in writing, in listening, speech, good we have habits. They are efficient and often effective. But..But... Habits are trained and fit specific situations. If the reinforcement is positive we go on with a habit. With negative feedback we stuck...

  • What is the problem with change? The problem with change is that our habits are guarded by negative emotions we feel when we do not act according to the habit. A very strong mechanism to protect a habit. It is learned at the same moment we learn a habit. Like the words ‘when you try different a disaster will happen’. Another action is so loaded with negative feelings of anxiety that any trial in a different direction is blocked . Example. ‘Father will get mad. Mother will get in tears when you do that…’. We know that positive reinforcers have a better effect in learning new habits then negative reinforcers have. Punishment is not the best reinforcer. Rewarding better behaviour is more effective. Internal anchoring of new habits work better then outside anchoring. For training in new behaviour people must break through their old habits to new behaviour. The fast changes in production technology demand faster change of organizational habits. New cooperation skills play a more and more important role in the performance.

What instruments do I have?

The leader’s instrument is his personal behaviour to persuade others to sign up to his goals and objectives. “You are your instrument” Harry reads. “So I must learn more about myself?” How am I motivated? What do I think on the use of power?

Harry searches in papers that are on his desk. He read a few weeks ago a short lecture on this subject that inspired him. May be it inspires him now too. He reads:

  • We hear lots of talk about the power of managers, about how highly they’re valued and their big salaries, but the bottom line is that managers are powerless. No manager can achieve the results he has in mind, the results to which he committed. He has to rely on the work of other people. You are totally dependent on other people for your success.

  • One of the instruments you have at your disposal, when you are persuading people to sign up to your goals and objectives, is yourself. Your own behavior. Behavior that is personal, in the sense of being attached to you, as an individual. You are the one who behaves in a particular way. How you behave is an important factor in helping you to achieve your objectives. In helping to persuade other people to make an effort, to dedicate themselves to achieving the goals you have set.

  • You will know yourself better over the next few days. You will be looking at things from a new perspective, colored by a specific view, and looking at yourself and others from this unfamiliar vantage point. You will see similarities and differences. Other people will also see you in the similarities and differences. You will get a better understanding of yourself and of the others around you. So what comes next? Then you find yourself facing the real puzzle: ‘Given your own predisposition, your own inclinations, how do you deal with people who have a different nature?’

  • The point is that given your own nature, you don’t immediately understand what makes these other people tick, since their natural reactions are not the same as yours. But luckily, thousands have people have faced this puzzle before you, and have found ways of dealing with it. Not that there is a standard solution that you can simply learn and plug in, that you can apply to every person you meet. Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist. The puzzle will always be there. And with each new person, you have to find a new key to open the door to communication. In fact, you even need to do so with people you already know. After all, they carry on developing. And meanwhile, you too change and develop. You become more mature. You understand more as you grow older, especially other people.

  • And here comes the really tricky part: a solution you may have found today for dealing with the person called Smith doesn’t work at all with the person called Jones. Worse still, tomorrow it doesn’t even work with the person called Smith, since you have changed in the meantime. But fortunately, things don’t get as bad as that in practice, since you make routines. You disregard some ways of behavior and focus on a spectrum of variations. Your standardized solution fits inside that spectrum of variations. Totally effective and efficient. After a while, the routine turns out to be obsolete, it no longer works, and you have to start again, devise a new solution.

  • Since as managers we are so dependent on our staff to achieve success, every step we take towards modern self-knowledge must help us to acquire a better understanding of what makes individual members of our staff tick. The better I understand my staff as individuals, and the better I understand myself, the easier it will be to find the right solutions.

  • The main thing I had to learn when I was having difficulty getting my staff interested, getting them enthusiastic about particular goals, or to perform tasks in a particular way, was not to use my power over them to impose my will. Not to deprive them of rewards or to punish them i indirectly by ignoring, excluding or humiliating them. It just didn’t work. In fact, it always produced the opposite result. It made my staff into slaves: when I was there, they did what I wanted. As soon as I was out of the way, they did nothing. I didn’t achieve my goals, or only barely. They would give me one excuse after the other for everything that went wrong. It really got me down. So what’s the right way to get things back on line?

  • The idea of myself as an instrument in achieving success as a manager was not always easy. In fact, it proved an obstacle at least as often as it helped me. I wish you more luck with yourselves that I had dealing with my own character. I still have to work really hard to behave in ways that are useful and effective. To find ways of persuading others to sign up to, and to strive to achieve, objectives that I have defined. Luckily, there’s hope even for me. And of course, there’s plenty of hope for you.

What about my self?

Harry decides he has enough knowledge for now. His first act is to choose a mentor who will reflect with him on himself. What Self? He typed the word “self” in google. 986.000.000 results in 0,13 seconds. The third entry is: “the psychology of self” in Wikipedia. One page. Some on Jung and a box with: “see also...” 15 entries. Self...Self...Self.....Dialogical Self. He opens: The Dialogical Self Theory developed by Hubert Hermans.

Harry reads and likes the concept: the construct of an multiple Self that develops in dialogues. It feels natural for him. With a personal positioning repertoire he maps a construct of himself.

Harry likes it. He is often in competition with others. This feels good for him now: not being compared to others. He can see his own construction of his Self in “the landscape of his mind”. Harry likes the metaphor. He too likes the idea that all that he feels as mine is included in my Self.

Create a mirror

Can he do by himself? Does he need a guide? Some more links. A telephone number; practical answers to his questions; an appointment in one week; one hour drive; a spacial room with oak parquet, an oval table, two wooden chairs. Harry feels a strong need to investigate.

Ton Voogt

© 2018 TonVoogtConsultancy ~ Recent Update 24-08-2017
< > Play