Managers are responsible for getting results from their subordinates. There have been many methods offered as tool kits for managers. The latest addition for this tool kit is about managing the meaning that the subordinated are carrying in their minds. Before we discuss any further, we need to understand some psychology fundamentals, how people’s meanings are created
Meaning are created as a result of interaction be the world and the self. World give sensations to individuals. Sensations are captured through the sensory organs of humans. When similar sensations are repeated, people make adaptations. Adaptations are, in my book the meanings created within the minds of people. Say that a manager calls a subordinate to the manager’s office and scold all the time, the subordinate associates a meaning of being scolded whenever the manager calls the subordinate to the office of the manager. So, the subordinate has built a meaning system for manager calling him/her to the office.
once those meanings are established in the minds of people, they will pre-select their responses as well. In other words, people anticipate the responses for the stimuli that they receive from the world. Thus, managers should monitor the meanings that people are building in their minds. Meaning systems should be understood by the managers by interpreting cues in behaviour.
Once a manager identified an unproductive meaning, the manager should take initiative to adjust the meaning of the subordinate. The ideal way to adjust the meaning is to have a face to face interaction with subordinates. This is where the manager’s communication ability comes into play. Often the manager has face to face communication with subordinates, the manager could make sure that productive meanings are created and maintained within subordinates.
I was an IT Manager, then became a HR Manager and became a simple IT user in business environment. Then a surprise hits me. The IT professionals who do not know about my IT background, were pulling tricks on me. Basically, they were making false excuses. Initially i got worked up, yet gradually I was capable of pulling together myself and worked with them to get the results expected for my operation in the company.
Bottom line is that IT professionals use the (pardon me) ignorance of the users about IT and take advantage for IT professionals to be comfortable. A basic fact in IT that I used to practice when I was in IT was that if IT professional sweat, then we make user’s life comfortable. If IT professional sits comfortably, the user’s life will be a hell. That what those IT professionals are doing, they try to be comfortable. Then you know what happen to the user.
Over the years, I used my experience and created a Body of Knowledge for IT Users (BOK-ITU). This body of knowledge is not the knowledge that IT professionals are learning. If a user can learn what IT professional is learning, it would be Okay. However, then the user is learning the side of the IT professional and not the side of the user. Such will help the users to become IT professional, not to become a user. So, user becomes an IT professional users’ expectation will eventually suffer.
Owing to this, in order for users to gain control over the IT implementation, and importantly to get the expected results, BOK-ITU will increase the ability of the user to effectively negotiate with IT professional. Following are the elements of BOK-ITU;
- Understanding the level of impact from IT
- Shifting the paradigm of Information Systems
- How users should take part in the Systems Development Life Cycle
- Understanding at components of MIS in the perspective of business
- Importance of Database for MIS and understanding the relational databases
- End user computing for quick information retrieval for user
- Understanding IT acceptance and use through the perspective of sensemaking
- Understanding emerging technologies and their impact on transformation intensity
Right-X provide BOK-ITS as a training to organizations.
I have seen many consultancy projects that are very expensive. Nature of a traditional consultancy is that the consultant comes and study the firm and gives us a recommendation. Biggest problem in this approach is the management of the firm is not aware of the solution in the recommendation. So naturally the buy-in of the managers is low. Thus, the report never gets implemented and gather dust in some one’s drawer.
In contrast to this methodology, Organization Development (OD) is a unique way of making a change inside a firm. OD consultant makes a special relationship with the firm.
- He has to act as an external consultant in the project, yet the people inside should feel that he is a part of the firm
- The consultant exercises relative-equity on the knowledge. The consultant never considers oneself is having a superior knowledge. They use the knowledge of the people inside and respect them.
- OD uses a skill building approach, where during the consultancy the project team of the firm develop the skills and knowledge required for the change, and thus the project becomes institutionalized within the firm. Basically, the buy-in of managers will be high.
We use the OD method for the solutions deliver by Right-X (Pvt) Ltd.
OD has specific tools required to make a change, we will discuss in another issue of the True North newsletter.