People Power

In today’s business and employee environment, all of us in some job function have to work with others to get results. You did not have to be a manager, department head or foreman to be in this position. You just have to have a job that has more than one participant doing the task. In highly structured industrial production areas, where a machine dictates the pace, it is impossible to slow down or dilly dally. The machine does set the pace. In our type of business, we can call it soft industry which includes retail, finance, public administration, business and community services. The machine does not push or pace set in any of these occupations. These businesses need bench marks and targets for productive job functions. Targets and bench marks alone can not deliver the results needed to survive in today’s business world. People’s attitude can and do make the difference.

Some years ago a classroom study was done by an administration. They noticed that if you have high IQ students and you streamed them with a teacher with high expectations, they would score well above average. In one particular study, they took a group of average students, told the teacher they were superior and then they measured the results. The students again scored well above average which befuddled the administration because they knew the students were average in IQ.

We in business and sometimes in family situations decide that one of our children or one of our employees can not do this, won’t do that and sure enough our expectations are proven right. What would happen if we assumed they could do it and we directed and supported and cheered them on. It’s a certainty that we would be pleasantly surprised, maybe not all the time, but enough of the times to really be proud of their contribution and our coaching successes.

People tend to act in accordance with their self image. If they see themselves successful they will try to perpetuate that image. What an opportunity for a parent, mentor or boss. Just think a little praise, some delegated responsibility, a little pay raise and a certain buy in. On the contrary people react bitterly to attacks on their self esteem. This of course is apparent when we watch teenagers conform to a group image. Organized gangs and their leaders know that self and group esteem is what keeps them together. They only discipline members that step out of line, which are few. Most people though respond to positive action and direction. That’s the difference between correction and criticism. One brings you up and the other knocks you down. In correcting, you are helping solve the problem with advice and your buy in. In criticism, you blame the results on the other person.

Each one of us has been surprised by what a child knows and does. Just recently in Saskatchewan, an eight year old boy drove his dad’s pick up truck to a neighbors farm about eight miles away, to get help for his dad, who couldn’t move because a piece of machinery fell and trapped him. The boy saved his dad’s life. This child, I am certain is no super human. He is an ordinary kid who did an extraordinary thing for some one his age. Why then should we be surprised if a fellow employee, who does a function every day comes up with a better way, a quicker way or a good reason for not doing it at all? To nurture positive results we must have a fertile caring organization which can positively hire, train and empower people.

All of us want to be part of a successful organization, remembering that the test of success is not only the bank balance, but more so the quality, the integrity, the commitment of all team members in the organization reaching from the cart boy or girl to the president’s office.

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