If you have ever seen the movie “Office Space” and can relate to some of the ridiculous situations in which the characters find themselves, you may have worked at an organization like one described in the following TED talk.
In his discussion, presented last October, Yves Morieux describes his view on why so many companies experience low productivity and engagement from their employees. He believes that the root issue lies within the two basic pillars of management. On one hand, you have the hard organization, with its systems, rules, committees, and requirements, and on the other, you have the soft organization, which focuses on relationships, personalities, and feelings. Sometimes, management uses one or the other, or perhaps both at once, but the end results is always the same: complicated-ness. Why is this? According to Morieux, it’s because both of these pillars of management are obsolete.
So how do we fix the issue? We need to focus on how the parts of an organization work together (cooperation), or as Morieux so eloquently says, “It is not the skeleton of boxes, it is the nervous system of adaptiveness and intelligence.”
To foster this kind of interplay, Morieux has developed an approach based on six simple rules:
1) Understand What Others Do
What is the real content of their work?
2) Reinforce Integrators
Remove rules and give your managers discretionary power
3) Increase Total Quantity of Power
Empower all employees to use their judgement and intelligence
4) Extend the Shadow of the Future
Expose people to the consequences of their actions
5) Increase Reciprocity
Remove buffers to self-sufficiency to aid cooperation
6) Reward Those who Cooperate
And blame those who don’t cooperate
Part of Rule #6, to blame those who don’t cooperate, may make some people uneasy. However, Morieux quotes Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, the CEO of The Lego Group, saying: “Blame is not for failure, it is for failing to help or ask for help.” We can see how this explanation opens up a world of possibilities for employees to be involved, take risks, and cooperate with one another. Best of all, it takes away the layers of complexities that keep us from being productive and engaged.