Ever heard the greeting, “Happy Monday!”? No? Not many people are happy it’s Monday. Most of us grit our teeth all the way to Friday. Saturday is great. Sunday morning is pretty good. And then Sunday night the dread begins to creep in. Monday morning? Perhaps the low point of the week.
It’s not just because we’ve had two days of sleeping in and need two extra cups of coffee. Many of us trudge into dysfunctional organizations where we grudgingly navigate office politics, bad behavior, broken processes and tense relationships. This feeling in the pit of your stomach is not just you. It’s the sign of an organization that is not functioning as it should. So rather than just “stomach” it, start asking yourself some questions to see if you can figure out which pain points offer the most hope for change.
In my last blog article, I shared four of the eight places we look for pain when we do an organizational assessment – morale, trust, team work and rewards/recognition. Leadership is another – and it’s a critical part of any organization’s success. When we work with organizations in conflict, three elements of leadership almost always come up: decision making, meetings, and accountability.
- Do you understand what important decisions have been made and why?
- Do people agree to a decision and then don’t follow through?
- Is it unclear why decisions change?
When organizations cannot get decisions to stick, they cannot meet their customer’s needs or their strategic goals. Furthermore, employees lose their sense of purpose and accomplishment – effectively bleeding the most important fuel out of the organization.
- Is the purpose of your meetings to score points and look good?
- Do people not express what they really think?
- Does everyone discuss the meeting after the meeting?
Meetings are a microcosm of the larger organization – and organizations cannot thrive when politics supersede deliberation or employees fear retribution for speaking frankly on difficult issues.
- Are employees no longer accountable for their bad behavior?
- Are there no consequences for missed deadlines or divergence from important protocols?
While it is easy to blame individuals, accountability rests in the overall organizational structures and processes.
Do any of these challenges resonate with you? Which ones are most painful for your organization? More importantly, how to you begin to make changes? The first step is to really understand what the problem is. Many change efforts have fallen off the rails because the “solution” has not adequately addressed the problem. And to fully understand the problem, the people in your organization need to talk. At all levels. With candor. And especially about the topics that are “off limits” or “hot buttons.”
Join me and my colleague Loraine Della Porta on Monday, March 27 from 12:00-2:00 at the Nonprofit Center in Boston for a free, interactive and engaging Power Lunch workshop on Organizational Conflict Assessment. We’ll talk some more about you can take the pulse of your organization and we will share a few quick tips to help employees feel valued, listened to and respected. While you can’t change your organization after a two-hour workshop (seriously, you can’t), you will take away two or three things you can do to start moving in the right direction. See you there!
Space is limited. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seat.