Spending today complaining about yesterday won’t make tomorrow any better – Unknown
So much of what we complain about are just FWP – First World Problems.. Here’s your challenge for the rest of the week – spend it without complaining once – not about the weather, not about politicians, not about your co-workers, the company, your boss, your weight, your hair, NOTHING. Instead, be grateful that you live in the best country in the world, at the best time to be alive, ever. I bet you can’t do it for even 4 days!
‘Faced with changing one’s mind, or proving that there is no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.’ — John Kenneth Galbraith
I suspect everyone reading this column has been to some sort of change course, but I also wonder just how much of that course you applied to yourself and the changes that you face. Or did you, like many course participants, look at everyone else and try to figure out how to make THEM change? Construct two columns – one labelled “Changes I need to make”, and the other one, “Changes I don’t want to make”. Any guess as to which will have the larger number of entries?
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher
I believe that the number one reason for people NOT changing their bad behaviour is the lack of a meaningful, appropriate consequence applied in a timely manner. Just suppose traffic lights came equipped with a huge steel barrier that dropped on the hood of your car if you entered an intersection when the light had turned red. How many people do you think would run a red light more than once? Have you ever noticed how people treat cranky, obnoxious people at work? They never say anything directly to the person who is being obnoxious – rather they complain to everyone else in the office. And then they wonder why the person doesn’t improve.
“Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.” Peter Drucker
I would like you to imagine a fantasy world – that is, one in which Managers do NOT have responsibility for operational work as their primary function but rather that of actually managing (and coaching) people. My experience in consulting and working with a very wide variety of companies and organizations suggest that the ratio is probably 80-20 –80% working on operational tasks for their boss and 20% of their time (or much less, in most cases) actually managing people.
I’ve asked managers – Suppose you were required to nothing but manage your people all day – how would you spend your time? Most managers can draw up a plan for 3 or 4 days, and then they cannot think of anything to do.
Management theorists have claimed that the best span of control is around 8 people. Well of course it is if 4 out of 5 days are spent performing operational duties and directly coaching and managing the work of people who report to you. This notion has led to a huge increase of highly paid people who are paid to do things that other people could easily do, and to not do those things which would ensure that the work gets done efficiently and effectively.
The people who most need coaching and assistance are at the operational level, especially if they are new and/or young and at the beginning of their learning curve. Yet it is precisely the managers of first level workers who have the most non-managerial stuff on their plates and the least amount of time to devote to helping the people who are actually doing the work. Time to rethink this model.