Friday, August 29, 2008

Examining the Structure

A common mistake when analyzing performance problems is to zero in on the people and overlook the policies and practices that shape the behavior of the people.

For example, restrain your front desk employees with a mass of rules discouraging initiative and piling one procedure on top of another and you'll get all of the characteristics of an unresponsive bureaucracy. You can send them to workshops and deliver inspirational speeches, but they'll carry those guidelines back to the same stifling environment.

The key question is less "What do the people do?" and more "What does the organization encourage?"


Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Michael. Another good question is: "Who succeeds around here?"

Michael Wade said...

Thanks, Wally.

You're right. One of the most important questions is "Who succeeds around here?"

The answer can be pretty demoralizing in some places.