About Workforce Echoes

Monday, November 8, 2010

Organizational Culture (2 in a Series)

For this week’s blog I’m going to continue with the garden analogy from last week; i.e. that being a manager is similar to growing a healthy garden. This analogy enables managers to view behavior as logical rather than random.  The focus this week is on performance problems, the weeds in your garden. 

Some gardeners tend their garden regularly.  Weeds don’t have time to take over and when even a single weed pops up, it is noticed immediately and yanked out. A beautiful and healthy garden is allowed to flourish. In the business world, managers who handle people problems on a regular basis, and who do not allow problem behavior to go unnoticed, are able to grow an environment of engaged and productive employees that is noticeable to anyone observing this team.   On the other hand, a manager who focuses on performance issues only once per year at the annual review, will have a garden that has been so taken over by the weeds that it seems overwhelming. Problem behavior becomes the norm, and desired behavior will get choked out. When you stand back and observe this team, you will observe conflict and chaos.

If your work environment is currently filled with conflict and chaos, there is hope!  It is a lot more work than plucking a single weed, but it CAN be done.  Clearly state expectations and goals.  Monitor behavior and progress daily.  Deal with problems immediately. This will be equivalent to a large scale climate change in the environment, and you should expect it to take a while for the ecosystem to settle and become sustainable again. When it does however, you’ll find that desired behaviors become the norm.  The environment change will eventually change the organizational culture.

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