This was actually a hard topic to title. The reason for this is that its not that we don't train people when they move into a new role or that some kind of instruction doesn't happen. Companies are good at ensuring these things take place and people are prepared for their job. Rather the issue that I want to discuss with you today is centered around the "why" and the "how" of the work people do and your role as a leader in providing that understanding.
It starts with you understanding the company vision and goals and how your team’s competencies contribute to those goals. It begins with you being able to answer the question; what does my department or group do to contribute to the overarching company goals. If you cannot answer that question, then it is going to be very difficult for you to get your group to understand their place either.
Once you have developed an answer to that question then things get really interesting. Ever have a member of your team who could describe the nature of their work and yet somehow never got the job done to your satisfaction? It could be that you did not sit with them to have them to work out the "why" and "how" of the work they do, their competencies. The "what" would be the technical competencies that go with that role like IT, support or operations. But there is so much more such as things like collaboration, communication, problem solving, initiative, building relationships and the list goes on. These are really the "how" of getting things done and they only make sense when you understand "why" these contribute to the company goals.
Take for example the role of a baggage handler which could be described as simply making sure the baggage gets onto the right aircraft, off at the right location and in generally the same condition it started the journey in. But we know there is so much more involved. Working as a team, communicating with that team, working against timelines, making sure that every detail is taken care of and so on. This role is probably the most under appreciated part of the industry yet regardless of how much you enjoy the flight, the aircrew or the quality of the aircraft if your bags don't get there with you and in one piece, that is what you will remember.
Or we can look at baggage handling as a key part of the company effort to ensure top of class customer experience and satisfaction (an overarching company goal). The "why" of what someone does as a baggage handler becomes clear - customer experience - not just moving bags. Now all those activities become unified under that goal. Things such as teamwork, communication, relationship building and taking initiative begin to make sense. It is why I love it when the handlers for a particular airline wave when a plane backs out to taxi - they get it.
People may want to do the right things and may be competent to do the work but it is up to you as a leader to make sure they understand the linkage between what they do and the company's overarching goals. When they come to understand the "why" then the "how" will make more sense and they will want to partner with you in that endeavor. Don't assume that everyone on your team "knows' their job, make sure they do.
Robin Anna Pernice
1/13/2016 10:22:19 am
Well written article that raises some very good issues surrounding organizational change and job role re-identification. Worth a read for anyone who is involved in CM or is impacted by a merger/acquisition or related type of organizational change.. Thank you for sharing.
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