The Lacking Commitment


Why do so many senior people appear hesitant and half-hearted? Why are the communications concerning change programs so anemic, especially when coming from those who have little difficulty in putting their points across in other contexts?

We have to get at the roots of ambivalence. The reasons for concern, quiet dissent, and reluctance to commit need to be probed:

  • Apparent support may only mean that those concerned are crawlers, bootlickers and toadies. There is often reluctance to accept the reality that all manner of loathsome and self-serving creatures inhabit the corridors of corporate bureaucracy. Their wiles, and the games they play, which are so transparent to outsiders, and destructive of external relationships built upon mutual trust and respect, go unnoticed or are ignored within.
  • Those who appear difficult may be the individuals with intellectual reservations. These could relate to the application of a program in a particular area, or to an initiative as a whole. The objectors could be the ones who have thought it through and uncovered missing elements. An implementation process needs to incorporate a means of listening to, and learning from, those who have valid objections.
  • Also, not all customers have the same preferences. What is added value for one person may be regarded as an expensive luxury by other.

Bland ‘motherhood’ statements suggest people have not thought through what needs to be done. People judge by what they see rather than on the basis of what is said. The informal messages, the examples and the symbols, can undercut formal communications.

Too often the changes of attitudes that are sought are not reflected in the language used by managers, the anecdotes and war stories that make up the mythology of a company, in symbols such as the allocation of parking spaces or use of exercise facilities, and in how a myriad of day-to-day matters are handled. Changing structures and processes may not be followed by attitudes where managers themselves, and particularly senior managers, refuse to act as role models.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Feedback


People must receive feedback. Unless they know how well they are doing in fulfilling their responsibilities and meeting the standards, they cannot be expected to improve their performance when needed.

Many managers don’t get feedback because they think people know without being told when they are doing a poor job or a good job. The manager who makes this assumption knows very little about human nature. Most people have a limited capacity to judge and evaluate their own performance and work. They need help in seeing their strengths and weaknesses. That goes for the excellent performance as well as for the poor performer.

People need to know when they are doing a superb job and when they need to improve and make changes. When they don’t receive feedback, they become preoccupied with the question of how well they are doing. Are they going to get zapped or praised? Are they on the manager’s good list or bad? Are they going to get promoted or fired? These are difficult questions for anyone to live with.

When people don’t receive the necessary feedback, they feel unnoticed, unappreciated, and uncertain. They usually find a way of getting some form of attention, usually negative, since that is the only thing some managers respond to.

It is impossible to establish an effective working relationship with people unless you give them feedback. There must be two-way communication if there is to be an understanding between you and the people you manage.

Whenever you give feedback to a person on his performance, it should accomplish one or more of the following objectives:

  • Reinforce positive performance.
  • Show the person how and where he needs to change and improve.
  • Motivate the person to perform better.
  • Build pride.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Lectures, Line of Sight