Posts Tagged ‘result orientation’

Performance comes from Performing People

by Guy Ralfe on January 27, 2010

Last week I was returning back from Europe to the USA via London’s Heathrow airport. I won’t go into the airport security experience, but to say that the whole security debacle, while necessary, produces such a negative image before you have even set foot in the country. My story begins after the pat down security screening. We cleared the gate and were walking down to board the aircraft when we were stopped at the entrance to the elevated gangway that connects the terminal to the aircraft.

Slowly the number of people backed up until there must have been around 40 passengers waiting to board. At this point an official notified us that we needed to wait a few minutes while some tests were conducted on the aircraft. A lady in front of me stepped forward and asked if there were any problems. The official discarded her request by saying it was just some routine maintenance checks. The lady returned to the line but was not quite at rest. Some time passed with engineers running back and forth past us out the gangway, before we were given a shouted out notice that they were having to start the aircraft engine to test it and the wait should only be another 10 min. The official disappeared but the lady ahead now looked decidedly uncomfortable.

When the official returned she asked him what was wrong? He responded routine maintenance again. She then became very concerned and began demanding that she see the signed maintenance work order, that she wanted to see the pilot’s signed approval. The official did not help the lady’s concerns and so she became louder and demanded even more proof of acceptance. The official said he would not be getting that for her but she then argued it was her right to see the authorizing paper. I am not sure if it was her right, but she now had 39 people focused on her.

I was intrigued watching the situation, now the other 39 people in the line were not concerned about the maintenance but rather was this lady going to cause a situation that delayed their flight? The official just wanted the lady to calm down and not work up a commotion among the crowd, he cared less about the maintenance – he was flying nowhere and just wanted this plane dispatched.

For me the intrigue was with the lady;

  • she felt so strongly that she pulled herself from the conforming crowd to take care of her concerns at any cost
  • in being so concerned she could not reason – no pilot would be taking-off if they had any doubts about the maintenance yet alone the 39 other passengers eager to board.

So where am I going with this observation? Following on from last week’s post Measure for Success, I have since been fortunate to participate in a strategic session based on the Franklin Covey designed, 4 Disciplines of Execution, methodology to align an Organization with its Goals/Objectives. This methodology is entrenched in setting up measures, more so it advocates the measurement of leading and lagging measures to help identify the onset of issues before they become issues. What my observation brought forward for me is that you need a methodology as a guiding principle for an organization but do not forget how that applies to the individual. Each person has their own set of concerns, part of this is their ambition and goals.

These concerns are what individuals hold most dearly and if we can align the correlation between the individuals concerns and the organization you can produce superior performance by the organization in the marketplace. If the lady did not hold her concern for safety she would not have mustered up the courage to go the extra mile and challenge the official – the other 39 people held the concern of getting out of the jetway, the same attitude held by your clock watchers in the organization.

Guy RalfeThis article was contributed by Guy Ralfe, co-founder of Active Garage and co-author of the upcoming book ProjectManagementTweets. You can follow Guy on Twitter at gralfe.
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Result Orientation

by Himanshu Jhamb on November 13, 2009

resultsI was privy to an interesting exchange between two of my business associates the other day which led me to reflect upon what is it that people work for and how often they lose sight of what they are doing. The exchange went something like this:

P1: You don’t communicate clearly.

P2: Really? How come?

P1: Right now you are agreeing with what I am saying but that was not the case in your email.

P2: Yes. And what is the problem with that?

P1: You need to communicate clearly in your emails.

P2: Please understand that sometimes <whatever justification is being offered>

P1: Yeah, but it only happens in YOUR emails.

P2: Isn’t it also possible that it might be happening only to you?

Clearly, this is a typical disagreement conversation that is taking place between two people that is going downhill as quickly as a 100 tonne truck rambling down the downgrade with the brakes not working. There is obviously nothing wrong with the above conversation – It’s just that it is a Weak conversation. Weak because it is not oriented towards producing any result – it’s just a game being played between two individuals about who is right, wrong, superior etc. Notice how the conversation took a turn in the 3rd sentence – “Right now you are agreeing with what I am saying but that was not the case in your email”. Once the two folks have reached an agreement, what is left to talk about? The conversation is really over. Dissecting what was missing, incomplete or flawed in the email suddenly becomes irrelevant in the moment when it is declared “Right now you are agreeing with what I am saying”. PERIOD!

These are the conversations that take teams on a path of self destruction. It is important to understand and always bear in mind the question “For the sake of what.. are you doing… what… you are doing?” and use this question as the guiding light whenever you find your mind taking you into the dark tunnels of personal “Rights”, “Wrongs”, “Validations” and “Invalidations”. The same conversation becomes a powerful conversation had it simply gone like this:

P1: It was not clear from your email that <whatever it was that was not clear>

P2: Really? How come?

P1: That’s not really important because right now since you are agreeing with what I am saying and it seems to be sorted out…

P2: Great. I’d be open to hearing about what was unclear in the email at a later time, if you want to share.

Notice the stark difference.  The power comes from the fact that:

  1. The conversation is short and to the point.
  2. There is a mutual respect for each other and the two people seem to be “Sensitive” to creating a workable environment, even in the face of disagreement.
  3. The conversation is centered around “Producing a Result” and not on personal desires, beliefs, wants or preferences.
  4. The tone and the mood of the conversation remain positive and pleasant.

Take a moment to reflect upon the conversations you are having with others (… and also, yourself!). Are they oriented towards results or something else?

Himanshu JhambThis article was contributed by Himanshu Jhamb, co-founder of ActiveGarage and co-author of #PROJECT MANAGEMENT tweet. You can follow Himanshu on Twitter at himjhamb.
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