Some thoughts while reading Human Sigma by John H. Fleming and Jim Asplund (Gallup Press, 2007) These are not quotes or summaries, these are thoughts which ensued.
(Originally posted on Who Cares and So What wiki http:/whocaresandsowhat.com
MEASUREMENT DOES NOT EQUAL CONTROL
It seems that many people feel like they are being controlled if they are given specific numbers that indicate their own performance. When the numbers are good the recipient accepts them and feels satisfaction. However, even when the numbers are good, if there are negative indicators in the data, these are the numbers people think are being used to judge them. Notice how my language changed – the positive are numbers and data but the negative are used as tools for judgment. The dynamics created by using individual data feedback might best be discussed in light of feedback and feedback loops across time. Thus supervisors can talk about accountability across time and using accumulated data as tools in the feedback loop. This approach also indicates the need to show care in word and action over time in how numbers and other performance indicators are used.
ACCOUNTABILITY DOES NOT EQUAL MANAGEMENT
Accountability is a shared process. In the best organizations, the Human Sigma discussion would imply, the structures are designed to empower the employee to act in ways to assure positive outcomes. Positive outcomes are the desired results of the organization, not the unit or division. To achieve positive outcomes the employee has to know what those are; engaged employees would be more likely to have a clear understanding of the objectives and desired outcomes as it applies to their role in the organization.
Management’s role is to first assure that people know the desired outcome, then to facilitate the engagement of employees, then to give accurate feedback and support. Finally, management can hold themselves and those people they supervise accountable.
Accountability is not management because everyone is accountable, especially supervisors and managers. Leadership is a process of shaping shared responsibility for results, (being accountable). Thus accountability is not the function imposed from above by management, it is a shared responsibility of everyone in the organization. Another way to understand this is that any one employee, supervisor, or manager does not control all the resources and actions which create the results; the elements are shared. Therefore the responsibility for outcomes is also shared.
MANAGEMENT AND POWER ARE NOT THE SAME AS MANAGEMENT AND INFLUENCE
Managers and supervisors have power as a function of their authority but their effectiveness as leaders is derived more from their abilities to influence.
RESULTS ARE ACHIEVED AT THE LOWEST LEVEL OF ENGAGEMENT
The central theme of Human Sigma is that engagement of customers and staff members is critical to outcomes and success. The customers experience the organization in the individual encounters they have and judge success by these outcomes. Hence each engagement is what produces outcomes. Supervisors and managers who attend to the core interactions which occur at this lowest level can create the positive overall outcomes. So the lowest level is actually the most important level.