Being Part Of The Solution: Part One

August 08, 2018

One of the key shifts for front line Managers, Supervisors and Individual Contributors is shifting from identifying the problems to not only recommending but becoming a key part of the solution.

This is extremely challenging and a real paradigm shift.  The feeling frequently is the need to share the problems and expect the senior leadership team to fix the problems.  But, wouldn’t it be more powerful if the entire organization is focused on fixing the problems as opposed to just the top staff.

Typically when it comes to problem identification and being part of the solution, there are three phases the employees go through when a company shifts from a traditional autocratic or top down environment to “Creating an Entrepreneurial Workplace™” and employee empowerment:

  1. Why should I bother saying anything?  Nobody ever listens.
  2. The Senior Leadership team is actually willing to listen so here is my opportunity to tell them about all of the problems and maybe they’ll fix them.
  3. We, the employees are empowered and have the ability to be an intimate part of the solution and creating positive change in our organization.

This is not an easy shift. It takes time, patience and for all levels of the organization to exhibit good habits.  When I hear about leadership wanting to train on “Change Management” the first change has to start with the Senior Leadership Team.   They have to really want an Entrepreneurial Workplace and to empower their Employees.  And it has to go well beyond their words.  If their actions are inconsistent, the front line Managers, Supervisors and Individual Contributors will not respond.

For the employees, when they actually feel as though they’ll be heard they think that now they can tell the Senior Leadership team all about the problems.  There is one key miss here.  Typically the Senior Leadership Team is already well aware of the problems.  And they aren’t looking for you to tell them something they already know.  They want to know what ideas you have and how you can be part of the solution.

Prior to conducting my “Creating and Entrepreneurial Workplace™” Workshop Series, I conduct interviews with Senior Leadership and workshop attendees to gain a thorough understanding of the organization.  One piece that is consistent when I ask for what is working within the organization and what needs improvement, employees at all levels have very similar responses.  The CEO’s delineation of the problems mirror those on the front line. They may have more of a macro and big picture view but the essence is the same.

So the good news is everybody wants the same thing.  Those throughout the organization recognize the same problem.  Now how to go about getting on the same page to solve it?  I will talk more about that in my next blog.