There's a story about a company that hired a high-priced consultant to help them sell more baby powder. This occurred many years before the presence of personal computers or the Internet.
It has become so common to hear "change is the only constant" that most of us don't even think about what it means anymore. We just nod -- these new iPhones are amazing, right? Yet the fact is that nature has evolved to prevent or repel most forms of change. As managers in any type of organization, you ignore this at your peril.
In my profession, we have a saying: "People don't leave companies, they leave bosses." Whenever I say this to someone in business, they always get it immediately. That's because they have seen it themselves. One in five people who leave their jobs voluntarily do so because they find the behavior of their supervisors unacceptable.
In my work as a management consultant, strategist, and coach I meet with leaders in all types of organizations. Two of the issues they mention most both concern accountability. One issue is that people don't follow through with what they promised to do. The second issue is that leaders and managers don't know how to deal with the first issue.
One of the case studies I use in my work involves a Canadian banker who was posted to Mexico to manage his bank's operations there. You can imagine the attitude of the local workers when this guy shows up. It's scary enough when a new boss parachutes in from corporate headquarters - Will there be big changes? Layoffs? - but this new boss wasn't even Mexican. So the banker in question started out with a team that was decidedly skeptical.
Take a moment and remember a time when you were operating at peak performance. You can probably remember how good it felt. You can probably also remember the things you didn't feel: fear, apprehension, tension, confusion, frustration. Communication was easy, confidence was high, and there was freedom to balance planning with creative spontaneity.
When I used to teach introductory psychology to college students, I would begin each semester by asking them "What is the purpose of emotions? "Typically, some students saw emotions as something they didn't understand and would rather not deal with. Others pointED out how emotions enrich our lives and allow us to appreciate life and beauty.
This premise might surprise you, especially if you have ever wished for a little less emotionality from employees or co-workers - their frustration with customers, mean-spirited gossip, or insistence on bringing a messy divorce to work with them. But the fact is that emotions play a huge role in driving behavior.