Shifting Dynamics at Work

Shifting Dynamics at Work

More Problems with People?

I was recently in the company of national news producers from both NBC and CBS. Our discussion revolved around our collective relationship with work and how we conduct it. We were identifying how shifts in the economy continue to influence the decisions of workers and their employers. 

When Power Dynamics Fluctuate

For a time, employees felt they had leverage. They grew comfortable making demands in light of COVID’s influence on the unplanned proof of concept of remote work. Two-plus years later, the power is back with the employers. Economic uncertainty and evidence of remote work’s negative impact on the upward mobility of employees is now in focus.

I’m reminded of a piece I wrote after the height of the pandemic about the keys to keeping people happy at work.

Sentient Strategy® in Action

Why do companies have Human Resources departments? The answer largely depends on where one sits. The C-suite response will be different from the line. A substantial portion of my advisory work involves confidential counsel and feedback to company presidents and boards of directors. Sentient Strategy® helps identify core issues affecting business, and they routinely involve challenges with people.

Usually, we dance around Bob (an alias) for a few minutes, whose name doesn’t get used in the meeting because everyone knows who’s being talked about as the problem du jour. As the outsider guiding the discussion, I can say, “Ok, let’s just lay it on the table. Who is the problem, and what’s being done about him?” Someone will blurt the name, and others breathe a sigh of relief. Finally, we’re going to address the issue. 

If you have a (Bob) in your organization, and everyone knows he’s a problem, the leadership owns the problem whether they address it or not. The rest of the workforce knows about (Bob), so not addressing it is actually a worse problem for the company. Cancer metastasizes; it must be removed.

The Gratitude Paradigm

My colleague Don Young of C5MI, and a participant in my year-long Masters Class, led a discussion about gratitude that we can all learn from. It may prove helpful as you deal with the revolving door and problems at your company. By distinguishing between appreciation, recognition, and reward, we can consider ways to practice and look for ways to do each more frequently. By doing these things, we can often prevent the disruption (Bob) may otherwise cause by not allowing the conditions for his disruption to flourish.

Appreciation. This type of gratitude can be a simple “thank you” for completing a task. Some might argue bosses and leaders don’t need to thank someone for doing their job. Think again. Everyone wants to feel appreciated for their efforts. A simple thank you goes a long way in conveying that one’s work is important and matters.

Recognition. This form of gratitude works best in public and ideally in front of co-workers. Recognition does not require anything tangible, but it should be fact-based, and its merit should be evident to the public audience. Recognition can simultaneously reinforce a company’s values and mission.

Reward. This kind of gratitude can take the form of something as simple as a gift card or more robust such as a stock award. There is a continuum of options available to any leader as a reward for high-caliber work. Within the bounds of ethical guidelines, it’s appropriate to reward high performance that contributes to the attainment of the financial objectives of a business. 

How grateful are you for those who work with or for you? It’s often the simplest of adjustments that can make the most impact.

For a copy of my book, Pitching the Big Top: How to Master the 3-Ring® Circus of Federal Sales, and more information on federal sales, visit Capitol Integration.

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