Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Solution is Not a Fix

Have you ever worked in an organization that held a social event to improve employee morale?  Or maybe a rewards and recognition program was implemented to try to boost productivity?  Have you ever thought that the new HR initiative was laughable because it certainly didn't address your problems?

Often, the signs are evident for low morale or productivity.  The numbers can clearly demonstrate low sales or profits or high accident rates.  When an organization has low morale, the symptoms may include negativity, unwillingness, lack of cooperation, gossip, mistakes, absenteeism (or worse, presenteeism!), missing deadlines, tardiness, high stress, and on and on.  Low morale has high costs for an organization.  Turnover of excellent people and low productivity are two common costs.  Most organizations know this and try to solve the issue with a fix.

I once worked with an organization that had happy hour on Friday afternoons.  We would all have a beer in the office or go to a bar for a drink to socialize and relax.  It was the organization's leader's way of attempting to have high employee morale.  However, this leader didn't trust his employees to do good work.  He was a micro manager.  He yelled at employees in public.  He made grown men cry... I kid you not.  So do you think a Friday afternoon happy hour worked?  Of course not!  It was a fix... maybe temporary... but it was far from a solution.

A fix works only temporarily.  In my case above, it may have worked for one week or two. But the positive impact quickly shifted to one of resentment.  That's what happens when a fix is used to solve a problem instead of finding the real solution.

In order to find the real solution to a problem, you have to dig.  You have to be ready to hear the hard stuff.  You need to be ready and committed to real change.  It takes time.  It takes commitment.

Take a rewards program, for example.  If you already have relationship issues in the workplace, and you implement a rewards and recognition program, jealousy and resentment is likely not far behind.  When someone gets recognized in an uncooperative work environment, darts can not be thrown from the eyes faster.

"HE got rewarded, and I did all the work."

"I can't believe she is getting recognition for that and it's just part of her job anyway."

"He is getting a bonus but he doesn't do a thing all day!"

Sound familiar?  A cooperative, and yes, loving and supportive, culture is required for a truly successful rewards and recognition program.  The solution for inspiring employees to do great work may include a rewards and recognition program, but not until the root problems, such as creating a supportive culture, are identified and real solutions are put in place.

Take a look at your organization or team (no matter how big or small).  What are some of the challenges you have?  Ask yourself and others.... what are the root causes of those challenges?  THAT's where you will find your solution.  And maybe you can avoid wasting your time and money on a fix.

Tina Pomroy's Mindful Leadership Fitness System uses Truth as the first phase of identifying root causes to the problems clients present to her.  See Pomroy Consulting Inc's Facebook page or contact Tina at tinapomroy@hotmail.com  for a free consultation for enhancing the leadership, management, and culture in your organization.

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