If no one goes to work to be difficult, why are they?

February 14, 2018

“Whatever the question is, love is the answer.”

I love this quote. It reminds me to move my focus from the superficial noise and angst, onto ‘what really matters here’.  No one goes to work to be unhappy.  No one goes to work to deliberately antagonise others, to be difficult – and yet that’s what we experience.

People are complex – and that simultaneously makes them brilliant and challenging. Increasingly employees (and customers) are becoming more demanding – for a number of reasons, and they have higher expectations. This is forcing managers and leaders to re-evaluate their own roles and their own behaviour. Management used to be primarily around the management of tasks – it just happened that a primary resource was often human.  This stems from the industrial revolution when we were machine-centric, and the humans worked around the capability and physicality of the machines.  My first degree was in Ergonomics (the man-machine interface), so I understand this.

“This is forcing managers and leaders to re-evaluate their own roles and their own behaviour.”

We’re moving beyond this now, at an exponential rate, and managers HAVE to manage people – not just as a resource but as individuals. For some managers this is normal – the way they’ve always worked. For many it’s a huge challenge, and it’s a challenge to their identity, to the way they generate respect and action.  Skills training alone is not enough, so ticking the box on a management course just won’t create the changes required. That’s why I work with motivation first.

There a powerful story that Tony Robbins tells of a woman who pulls out her hair; pulls it out so her scalp bleeds and people avoid her. Tony explains that, however strange and illogical the behaviour, at some level it works for the person. Otherwise they wouldn’t continue to do it, and we have to address this first.  (In this case – it was a deliberate strategy to avoid being hurt by others by making herself so undesirable.)  At a simple level, that’s why we’ve all read books, been on training courses and applied little of what we’ve learned.  The motivation, the deep desire for a different outcome, has to come first.  As they say ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way.’  And we’ve all heard stories of people who overcome all sorts of challenges – because it mattered to them.

“However strange and illogical the behaviour, at some level it works for the person, and we have to address this first.”

So today – as it’s Valentine’s Day, if you experience others who are being difficult, why not take a moment to wonder ‘why’?  Love is a verb – and the most loving thing you can do today, might be to take a moment to understand what’s really going on for someone else.  #motivatedperformance

Your Weekly Aspirin: “I must be the unluckiest salesman …”

October 31, 2016

Don’t accept excuses for poor performance. Most activities can be broken down to understand what’s working well & what’s not, and finding ways to improve that. But most people don’t do this analysis, and usually because they’re not used to taking ownership of their performance and feelings. Read more

People are Like Jigsaw Pieces

October 3, 2016

If we believe that people have strengths, then they must have weaknesses.  Sounds obvious – but it’s difficult for some leaders & managers to embrace.  The result?  A disproportionate amount of time is spent covering up and trying to improve weaknesses, and frustration levels skyrocket. Read more

Why won’t they do what they’re supposed to?

September 13, 2016

Time and again we hear from business leaders the cry of “They are indispensable to this organisation” and then in the next breath “Why won’t they just do what they’re supposed to do?!” reflecting both the joys and frustrations of dealing with people. Read more