So, I’m wrestling with how to characterize useful changes in an organization. I’ve been compiling a list of different tactics (e.g. implement coaching, show-your-work, support curation, etc), and want to map them to the changes you’ll get in the organization. I’ve wanted to tie them to another set of various outcomes: improved participation, innovation, etc. But, while I have the strategies, I’m looking at what breakdowns of outcomes are some minimal useful set. I’ll lay out my very preliminary set of thoughts around the values we’re trying to develop/influence, and I welcome input, pointers, what have you.
My goal, I should be clear, is to try to take specific changes we want in an organization, and have them linked to specific tactics. And, of course, a new school approach. That is, tactics that move organizations into directions that create learning organizations.
I start with the three elements Dan Pink talks about in his book Drive. In it, he lists three core motivators of employees: Purpose, Autonomy, and Mastery (this is my order, not his). Purpose is why what you’re doing matters. What does this do for the org, and that what the org is doing also matters. Then, autonomy is when you’re given the freedom to pursue your purposes. Now, you may not be completely capable of that, so there’s support for mastery, to develop the capabilities to succeed. I think these are all great, but are they sufficient in and of themselves? Are these the right things to want to impact?
I’m also a fan of Amy Edmondson’s quadrant model of psychological safety and accountability. Without either, you’re loafing. With just safety, you’re happy. With just accountability, you’re fearful. But if you’ve accountability and safety, you get results. This draws upon the richer work of Garvin, Gino, and Edmondson on the components of innovation. That model adds time for reflection, diversity, and openness to new ideas. Is this a better way to think about it?
There’re also personal values (which might be organizational, too). Barack Obama, in his keynote to ATD 2018, had two very simple ones: be kind, and be useful. I’ve extended that out one notch, to include three: responsibility (do the right thing, and do something [useful]), integrity (honesty, do what you promise), and compassion (respect, helping, etc [kind]). Is that a full set? Or is responsibility derivable from integrity? I’ve a collection of a suite of value proposals (five, with entries ranging from 5 – 8 core values). Can you derive some of the others from the three I have? E.g. does courage come from integrity and responsibility? Does fairness come from compassion and integrity? I don’t know.
And so, I’m not sure what the right core set is. Trust has to be in there somehow, but is that derivative from integrity? And do I frame it from the change we want in the org, or the change in the people? I’m inclined to the former. And are they unitary, or can the tactics impact more than one? (Preliminary: more than one.)
Obviously, I’m at an early stage in formulating this. I can beaver away on it on my own, but I’m happy to hear pointers, thoughts, etc. Yes, I’m trying to diagram it too, but nothing coherent has yet emerged. So, once again, this is me ‘thinking out loud’. Care to do similarly and share?
Leave a Reply