Every industry is unique; education is unique enough that many resent anyone who calls it an industry. But across industries and into the world of education, institutions, organizations, and companies are composed of people — people who develop a culture, with norms and roles, who sometimes have issues communicating, and who can be more or less effective at their jobs.
The idea that each occupation requires unique treatment works well — for certain industry-specific consultants, at least.… Read the rest
Have you ever noticed your group making the same mistake over and over? (Or perhaps your customers have noticed for you?)
Personally, I hate making mistakes. I think I’ve stunned a few vendors when we dug through a problem and found it was their fault. They were expecting to be yelled at, but I was too relieved at not having made the mistake myself.… Read the rest
When I first started in the employee survey business, I was responsible for some big mistakes. Eventually, I realized that anything we did not test would go wrong; and that it wasn’t just testing that mattered, but testing thoroughly and intelligently. The latter realization came after an Excel copy/paste bug — where the first 20 and last 20 cells were correct, but everything in the middle was just a repeat of the first 50 or so cells, over and over.… Read the rest
Some people deliberately work in places where they get paid less than normal.
Some economic theories would have us believe that’s impossible, but there’s more to compensation than a paycheck or benefits. Often, people will work for less money — and if you want to take advantage of that, you need to know about the informal contract that keeps them attracted to their jobs.… Read the rest
Cultural change efforts seem to fail as often as they succeed, partly because it’s neither easy nor fast — just brutally effective. Cultural change requires concentrated and focused effort over the long haul, a widespread belief that change is necessary, and the willingness to critically examine current beliefs, values, and practices.
In 1997, Chrysler was an oft-cited example of a company which had used cultural change to suddenly regain a leadership role, changing the way almost everything in the company was done within a few short years.… Read the rest
There are times when a consultant is brought in, and the results are stunning, with clear gains; and other times when it seems like the only gain is to the consultant’s bank account. How can managers make sure their engagements are all in the first group?
First, before bringing in an outsider, explore the skills, resources, and knowledge of your own staff.… Read the rest
How can you make employee surveys a real tool for change, at every level? There’s been a lot of practical research and trial-and-error; and we can conclude that there are things you can do which definitely work.
For many consultant, summarizing the data and providing recommendations is standard operating procedure, but it often leads to little action. That makes sense: most employees only get a little (if any) feedback, and the top managers are given a set of recommendations they can safely ignore or forget about.… Read the rest