Opinions hinged on ancient paradigms

What can we do when our workers’ opinions are hinged on ancient paradigms?

Can we change those perceptions, those opinions?

Yesterday, I was conducting a training session to a group of 17 employees, who belonged to one of our clients. The training, a white belt certification, was part of the implementation of a continuous improvement program.  We are in our 5th year of implantation. Considering that we are in the last miles of the implantation, obviously this group wasn’t the first.

I was shocked by two things. Two behaviors which forced me to ask myself; “Why do we still have this challenge after five years?”

The first behavior which I want to share with you is related to the training’ s notice of participation. Despite a well-defined process, a form and a process developed by the client, the employees – here I am using the plural form – were advised on the eve of the training day. Yet, the selection of candidates was done at the beginning of the summer, about 4 months previous.

The second behavior which I observed and was subjected to – yes, you read that correctly – are the comments of some of the participants on the leadership style currently in place in the organization. It can all be summed up by the following sentence, ¨the bosses decide, and the employees shut up and execute.

I cannot say if that is the case here, but there is a perception. Whether it is good or bad, it is there. Whether it is fed by incidents which took place many years ago, the perception is still there. It needs to be managed and especially, can we change that? In my opinion, YES.

Knowing the leadership style in place, I must admit that I am a bit surprised. Therefore, how to change those behaviors? Here is what I propose. Identify the habits to be changed, in the present case to quickly communicate the information received and to stop the negative criticism. Remember that all behaviors can change. In the case described here, we will need to deploy a lot of energy, but it is worth it, because like myself, you all know the impact on motivation when the communication is good and positive.

I propose the following diagram to you


Let’ s assume that you decide to introduce a weekly meeting to begin the communication improvement process in order to counter negative perceptions.  How to use this chart?

Make it obvious: a posting of the meetings with a reminder

Make it attractive: a budget for a healthy snack

Make it simple: a predetermined agenda with an appointed facilitator

Make it satisfying: a dashboard of completed meetings, an employee survey

Here are some ideas which I propose to you in order to remedy this type of behavior if you are experiencing it in your business.

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