Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Toss That Anchor!

Living on the Gulf Coast of Florida means sun, sand, water, and boats are a part of daily life.  An integral part of every boat is the anchor.  Steady, secure, reliable, never changing.  In the workplace the first three qualities are important...the last one however, not so much.

I Can't Catch My Breath

We've all heard about the incredible pace of change in the workplace, and that the only constant is change.  Since we're all so accustomed to these changes *wink*, it seems we should surround ourselves with people who embrace new ideas, challenge appropriately, and can add value to the culture of our organizations.

Here's the rub - as leaders we sometimes fail to distinguish between an anchor that brings balance during the storm, and one that is holding us back as we strive to race on ahead.

Despite being more than a decade old, Peter Drucker's words seem as if he had penned them this morning:

"Everybody has accepted by now that change is unavoidable.  But that still implies that change is like death and taxes - it should be postponed as long as possible and no change would be vastly preferable.  But in a period of upheaval, such as the one we are living in, change is the norm."
- Management Challenges for the 21st Century (1999)

So if "change is the norm" are we building that mindset in to our leadership style; or, are we simply moving too fast to see the need to hold anyone accountable?

Systems for Action

A variety of accomplished leaders have developed mechanisms to make "anchor removal" more systematic.  Quint Studer's high-middle-low performer philosophy pushes leaders to have the necessary conversations that address performance.  A more rigid system of forced ranking made famous (or infamous) at firms such as General Electric, Yahoo, Ford and Motorola brings this issue into sharper view.  Both approaches attempt to engage leadership in order to improve organizational performance. 

Time to Leave the Anchors Behind

What message are you sending to the overwhelming majority of employees who come to work each day, perform well, and expect their peers to do the same?  They are watching us.  Do they respect us for taking action; or, do they feel we are not holding ourselves accountable?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Anchor pic courtesy of spraygraphic.com

1 comment:

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    employee performance