It just feels so Good!

3wheel110v2op

It just feels so good! Yes, it’s that glorious sensation you experience when eagerly opening that pristine door for the very first time as your nose is gleefully engulfed with those joyous automotive wofts associated with that new car interior. The exciting mood continues as you place your eagerly awaiting bottom into that virgin seat with the knowledge that you are indeed the first. You run your hands in a circular motion, anticlockwise, then clockwise, as you gingerly grip the steering wheel with each of your probing fingers where you slowly discover every notch and groove. Out on the road, you smile with snug satisfaction as all parts of the car work in harmonious unison as you carefully navigate the surrounding traffic with a self-imposed mode of cautious stealth. The feeling lasts for an unmeasured while, and then without notice, unfortunately, stops. You have now reached the stage of habitual blaséness where that initial feeling of excitement has regrettably diminished into nothingness. It’s now just a car.

Many an innovative organisation initially commence their operations with that “new car feeling”, but alas, over time, and particularly with success, that blasé nonchalant state gradually permeates throughout the structure leading to creative stagnation. So, what’s the solution?

Think of that car again, but this time focus on all the scheduled, and the occasional unplanned maintenance that is required to keep it humming in a state of perpetual driving bliss. This can take the form of mechanical, structural or aesthetic adjustments, all are required, and need ongoing investment, otherwise it ends up doomed on the scrap heap soon to be forgotten.

Innovation needs ongoing investment to stimulate and maintain the creative machinations of the business. All departments working in the organisation need to finely tuned, continually aligned, and supplemented with that combustible spark of ideation, otherwise it will slowly come to a resistant state of undesirable lethargy. However, sometimes an organisation needs to trade in the old ways of doing business and upgrade to a newer and more inspirational model. If so, don’t be scared to let your employees experience that wonderful new car smell, particularly as some of the newer ones may have never savoured that joy, and those longer serving ones, well, they may need a strong nasal refresher!

So if you want to maintain that ongoing pleasant innovation woft in your business, make sure you keep it well maintained and stimulated, otherwise, you might as well get a horse and get used to a slower, and rather more odorous form of reduced creativity.

That Collingwood Road Behaviour

Aarne

It was raining heavily and I could just see the black car’s white dull headlights behind me as I was travelling at 105 kilometres/hour along the M1 Motorway. He was tailgating me so closely that I easily observed the agitated, and rather nasty looking facial expression of the aggressive, toothless driver in between the fast swishing movement of his windscreen wipers. I tried to move out of his way, but couldn’t, owing to the heavy traffic congestion in the other lanes, so I just tolerated his unpleasantness for the next minute as he followed in my slipstream.

He flashed his lights, honked his horn and gave me a finger gesture that I presumed was not one of friendship. I just waved back at him, but I don’t think it was appreciated in a positive manner as he responded with additional fist waving and a sneer on his face that was well suited to the most passionate Collingwood* football club supporter.

Finally, he saw a tight opening in an adjacent lane and like a magpie swooped into it without any hesitation. Unfortunately for him, it was a tad too snug, particularly as it was bordered by two large trucks which were startled by his sudden movement that caused the front truck driver to slam on his brakes. My impatient “friend’s” car slammed into the back of the truck at full force leading to chaos for all concerned. Mayhem soon prevailed as the carnage was littered all over the road.

Yes, this is fiction, particularly as those you know me, as I would never travel at 105 kilometres/hour in the fast lane! But, let’s think about this driver’s behaviour from a business perspective.

How many employees in your corporate office follow the same methodology, or route of behaviour, in a stayed and undeviating manner every day? It’s just like that impatient “Collingwood driver” that follows so closely the car in front that they can’t see what obstacles are approaching due to their limited vision of the business journey ahead.

A good driver continually looks out for those frequently changing road conditions and adjusts their speed accordingly. If a major roadblock is identified, they could wait for it to be cleared, but instead they quickly and wisely manoeuvre around it to find a more strategic approach.

Why do most businesses tolerate the lemming employee that just blindly follows those in front of them without any question or thought? Why not encourage a variety of driver skills that can cope and excel in numerous business conditions? Some employees will need to be trained to cope with high speeds, others off road terrains, some the more conservative stop-start city driving, but all of them need to know how to recognise potential danger and the process for steering around it.

So next time you see a driver with that “Collingwood appearance” in your rear view mirror, just let them go past unhindered as they have no idea where they are going, and are regrettably only thinking a few metres in front of their nose (assuming they can see it)!

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* Collingwood Football Club: http://www.collingwoodfc.com.au/

Are You on the Bus?

Double decker bus - London

In many change management programs within business you would have heard the phrase…”Are You on the Bus”?

Let us explore this analogy a little further. Many of us when at school have experienced those bus excursions which were brilliant, and others that were a complete disaster. So what are some of the key elements that differentiated the two experiences?

The Good:
The Bus Driver was a great storyteller that engaged the passengers throughout the journey.
Your fellow passengers created their own excitement and fun.
The scenery from the bus windows were continually varied and made the view a delight to behold and appreciate.
Passengers moved around the bus to experience different perspectives on the journey.

The Bad:
The driver was an utter bore and provided zero inspiration.
The passengers did not interact, were silent and uninterested.
The view outside the bus was monotonous and made the passengers switch off because they were not engaged by the scenery.

So what are the learnings with the bus analogy for management?

The driver is critical! Managers need to have the ability to inspire and lead their employees along the change management journey so they are eager to participate in the activity.

It is important to motivate the co-workers who are already on the bus so they inspire their fellow passengers so nobody wants to get off.

Passenger comfort along the journey needs to be maintained. Here the manager needs to understand and appreciate how their employees are feeling emotionally and physically. If the temperature or mood is too hot or cold, it is the driver who is on control of the air conditioner and needs to make the required organizational climatic change.

However, there might be some passengers who really don’t like the journey. If so, just let them off at the appropriate bus stop otherwise they may become a negative influence on the other passengers.

The bus may hit a large pothole in the road and get a wheel puncture? If so, the bus should quickly stop and address the problem and take the required corrective action to ensure that a smooth ride continues along the route to the intended destination. There is no point limping along with a damaged bus as it will negatively affect the experience of all the passengers.

So when next you as the driver (and manager) are about to start your next bus journey of change management, make sure you consider the above and then jump into the driver’s seat, start the engine and put your foot down on the accelerator and go!

 

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