We just recently wrote about Vision and Action to change culture. Before we look at changing it, we might want to first identify where it is today. The graphic above is a great picture that can determine if it's your organization or individuals that are the problem.
There are four main areas that you need to look at, and identify where the root causes of the problem really lies. Doing a deep dive in individuals, institutional, and structural items, and looking at how the interact is key into identifying your problems. Then, and only then, can you change them.
Was this systemic?
This is the main question we need to answer, and it becomes pretty obvious when you ask a few questions. Was this an institutional and structural problem. For example, an employee disregards a customer complaint, and the customer brings the issue to the manager themselves.
- Are these policies and procedures accepted as normal?
- If not normal, are they ignored by people in power?
- Do these polices and procedures go across various departments?
If the actions of an individual are only with that individual, and cannot be tied to the institution, it is NOT systemic. It becomes a problem of the individual, and should be prosecuted as such. Using the simple example above, if the manager does not pull the employee aside and explain what they did wrong the issue moves from individual to institutional. Condoning ones actions is one of the first steps to identifying if there is a bigger issue.
Another way to identify individual versus institutional, is to look at how management treats their employees. If they treat them with the same deference as the employee treats the customer, and so on up the ladder, it begins to look and smell much more like a systemic issue. We have to be careful though, there are bad apples in every barrel. Having two in a row shows a pattern, but it's not yet conclusive.
We have to be careful when we sling these negative stereotypes on groups, organizations, and institutions. It is best not to jump to conclusions, and not judge too quickly.
The 5-Why Process
Identify where the problems are by continuing to ask why.
- Why did this employee act this way?
- Why didn't the manager confront the employee?
- Why wasn't there a procedure in place?
We are a bi-product of our education and experience. If the employee was never taught the proper way, and they haven't been treated the proper way, why would we expect them to act differently?
There is a problem solving technique referred to as the 5-Why Process. It's up to the problem solver to identify root causes by continuing to ask why, until there is no more questions. The process doesn't stop there. You then apply a countermeasure to the root cause and ask "would it have stopped the above response?" The solution isn't strong enough if you can still have a problem.
Society needs to go through this process as well. When we see something, it is only a snapshot in time. I refer to this as "snapshot management" in my leadership classes. You can't judge on a snapshot. It's best when the entire scene is played out, asking the why's until you see the root cause is apparent. We learned in kindergarten not to judge a book by its cover. Why then, do people jump to conclusions and to extreme's?
Stephen Covey lectured on the difference between reaction and response ... that is TIME. The longer you have to look at something, the less reactionary you become, and the more informed response you have. Viktor Frankl (image above) used the words mindfulness instead of time.
- Take time to become mindful.
- Look at the entire picture before proclaiming an extreme.
- Stay calm and reasonable.
When you do that, and have a measured response to any action, you will be heard and positive change can happen.
The Kole Performance Group focuses on working hard today to improve your tomorrow. We do this by asking you why, as many times as it takes, in order for you to be the best you can be.