What if we didn’t tell our people what to do?
There’s a great deal of evidence to suggest that what people create for themselves, they value more.
Even more so, we like to be in control, to feel that we can determine outcomes.
There is a waste of time, materials, effort and ultimately money that happens in your business every day. That waste is people doing a job in a way that doesn’t reinforce your strategy.
People want to be proud of what they own.
In Tali Short’s book ‘The Influential Mind’, she writes that “‘Govern your surroundings’ would be your brain’s slogan, if it had one. Our biology is set up so that we are driven to be causal agents.”
Businesses know instinctively that talking about the need to give their people ownership is the right thing to do. But even if it’s talked about, the reality is often the opposite.
Some companies have understood how to give control to the individual in a meaningful way.
IKEA is an example of such a business.
Their customers do more work themselves, but in turn they grow more fond of the IKEA brand because it has delivered an experience they can share with people close to them, and something that lives in their home, that they can use every day, that they can be proud of.
IKEA sells homeware. But their customers make what they buy their own.
Their customers are turning their vision for their homes to reality themselves. IKEA provide the raw materials, but it is the customer who puts the pieces together, who in fact assembles the final product.
IKEA is not the story, their customers are.
We forget this fundamental principle every time we tell our people to do something differently, and the gap is a lack of ownership.
Many of your people are left overwhelmed, and ill-prepared to make the changes in your business their own.
As a result, there is a waste of time, materials, effort and ultimately money that happens in your business every day. That waste is people doing a job in a way that doesn’t reinforce your strategy.
The way we have classically tried to solve this problem is to train people with new slogans, competences, pie charts, and process maps. To tell our people what to do.
The problem is, not many of us like to do what we’re told.
This way might have been acceptable in the past, when we just needed incremental improvement, and fundamental change only occurred over decades, not years or months. Now, we are asking our people to contend with frequent, radical changes, and increased complexity in the form of information or networks.
By re-thinking this problem from the ground up, you can turn your strategy to reality by not telling your people what to do.
It’s time for a radical change in approach, owned by your people.