Business is a uniquely human endeavour. It is a product of human inspiration, creativity, determination, and perseverance. Without these human elements, there is no business. At all. Ever.
Too often, we hear business managers tell their people that "without the business then we would have no livelihood". Actually, it is the other way around.
Without people, then the business would have no life. It is the people that enable the business, bring it to life, sustain it, and give it the energy it needs to prosper.
The way we account for people in the business, though, does not reflect this. Our accounting processes are broken. In our accounts, people are only recorded as a cost and a liability. Managers might talk of 'people being their best asset', but when their annual accounts come out, the balance sheet is bereft of any people assets. They are only wages and salary costs, and leave and pension liabilities.
Where do we show the asset of people's energy, inspiration, creativity, and potential? These are too hard to measure, and even harder to value, so the accounting scorekeepers ignore them. Yet, these are the beauty of humanity, and we all know they are insanely valuable.
If we value humanity, then as business leaders, we should not be merely focussed on the people costs and liabilities. If we don't value humanity, then we don't value business. When we lose the focus on humanity then we stop building our businesses. We merely sustain them. Without the potential of people, then the business itself has no potential.
The best business leaders focus on the potential of people. They focus on the energy, drive, ambition, and aspiration of people and tap into that to nurture their business growth. They don't see 'sales' as supporting their employees, they see their employees as enabling their 'sales'. They grow their business by growing their people. These are the leaders we remember, and these are the leaders that build impactful brands.
These leaders know that the true cost of people is not their wages, salaries, and leave entitlements. The true cost of people is the lost business potential if they fail to nurture, enable, or facilitate the creativity, innovation, determination, persistence, and resilience of their team.
The H Factor System Home Page
The H Factor system is designed for business leaders to nurture the contribution of their team members to their business objectives. The Home page is your business story about why your business exists, the brand you want to create, the things you need to build on your success, and your values.
It enables your people to see the bigger picture behind their work, and identify their contribution to it.
The H Factor system was designed around natural human behaviour, and the drivers of business value. Contact us today to arrange a demonstration.
How much of our day is spent on the BS in our workplaces? BS comes in many forms, but it usually involves people being very busy rather than people being very productive. In many workplaces, it becomes a part of the culture where being seen to be busy is far more important than being seen to be contemplative, reflective, creative, or thoughtful.
As work becomes more and more about doing tasks, then people start to have more and more stuff that needs to get done. It piles up and sometimes overwhelms us. We stay late getting it done. We jump from one task to the next. We never really celebrate finishing stuff - in fact, we might not even want to admit that we finished something because we might get something else to do. Or worse, somebody might think that we're not busy, not important, not useful, or no longer contributing.
We get judged on, and judge others by, busy-ness. For some it has even become a status symbol.
Yes, we often hear our workplace leaders talk about things like engagement, happiness, and making a difference. Then these things become someone's task, and the cycle goes on. Meanwhile, according to research, less than a third of us feel genuinely engaged at work, believe that our work actually makes a difference, or obtain any sense of fulfilment from our jobs.
It's no longer fanciful to imagine a future of robots and artificial intelligence, where we have amazing machines that can do most of our busy-ness for us. Will we care whether the robots and machines are happy? Probably not.
We are not robots. While doing tasks and keeping busy my make us feel important (for a while), safe that we will keep our job (for a while), and maybe even profitable (for now), the cost of our busy-ness obsession is mounting up. In many instances we are ignoring our emotional needs - because we undervalue them and in our busy-ness paradigm we see them as annoying distractions.
Organisations that embrace their humanity actually perform better. They embrace human traits like creativity, contemplation, social connection, and vulnerability. These are the organisations that are solving big problems. They're the ones inventing and disrupting. They're the ones attracting great talent. They're the ones people want to work for.
At some point, someone in these organisations called out the BS. They decided that taking the time to contemplate, reflect, create, and think was more important than being busy.
When we started our journey of building The H Factor system, we were looking to create something that would help managers move beyond the command and control management style. We had experienced that the instructional management style that was applied last century is no longer as effective in the modern flexible workplace.
When we spoke with managers, nearly everyone said they were seeking something that would genuinely encourage engagement, contribution, shared ownership, and accountability. They felt that there wasn't any tools available that supported how they wanted to manage. Nearly every tool they used in the business actually dragged them back to the command and control approach - having to instruct rather than lead.
The job description is a good example of this. It is usually a list of tasks that must be accomplished. So, from the very start of a person being in a role, they are receiving instruction. "You will do this task, this often." How do they genuinely take ownership of that? The most they can do is demonstrate their compliance with the task schedule. When they and their manager then review their performance, then both are merely assessing compliance with the instruction. If leadership results from that then it is by accident, not by design. The most likely outcome of that review is further instruction. Command and control.
So we designed a process that enabled a shift from the instructional model to an engagement model. Not by coincidence, it is very similar to the model that coaches apply in the development of elite athletes and teams.
The process begins with clarity of the desired outcomes. What do we want to achieve, and why does it matter? This clarity of the outcome then leaves the person in the role to determine how they will achieve it - they will establish the tasks, which belong to them, and they can seek instruction on doing those tasks if and when it is needed.
Alignment is important. It enables the person in the role to appreciate how their outcomes fit with the organisational purpose, the roles of others in the organisation, and the function of the teams that make up the organisation. In many organisations this is assumed, in The H Factor we make it visible. Alignment is the gateway to the 3 rules of accountability.
Accountability is also assumed in many organisations. This assumption is the cause of most of the frustration managers have in managing their teams. Take away the assumption. Agree on who is accountable for what, and frequently discuss with each person how they are going about accomplishing their accountabilities, the barriers that are obstructing their achievement, and the opportunities for learning and improvement. Isn't this what a performance review should be about?
The opportunity to guide is one of the most fulfilling aspects of being a manager. It is a wonderful experience to be a part of the development of another person. Instead of being focused on assessing, when we switch that focus to guiding, then we build trust and genuinely encourage action. We contribute to their competence, capability, and confidence.
Now we are leading. We are enabling. We have transitioned from being instructors and assessors to now being genuine leaders. Achievement is the outcome of our work as leaders. The ultimate achievement is our contribution to the development of elite players, those that create the extraordinary and inspire others to follow.
Isn't that far more rewarding than having to constantly tell people what to do? It's worth making the transition from being an instructor to being a leader, and we created a system to take you on that journey.
The H Factor Positions
The positions tab enables everyone in the organisation to see how their role fits into the business structure. They can see every position in the organisation, including:
This creates alignment. It gives visibility of the performance requirements of everyone in the organisation and creates the alignment needed to build accountability.
Positions are built around outcomes, not tasks. This enables a deeper and richer performance conversation where the person(s) holding the role can then describe how they will achieve the outcomes by setting and agreeing their own tasks and actions. The outcomes have already established the common view of what success will look like.
Very few people go to work every day to deliberately do a bad job. Yet, at the same time, nearly every manager will tell you that managing people is one of their most difficult responsibilities.
That these two realities can co-exist is a conundrum. So, Change Agents, what are workplaces doing that means that managing well intentioned people ends up causing frustration, anxiety, and apprehension? We don't believe it should be this way, and we think that the way we look at accountability is the problem.
Accountability is actually an implied contract, rather than a physical one. So our employment contracts and job descriptions can only create a tool with which to measure compliance. It is a myth that these create any accountability at all. As managers, we need to focus on the human elements in order to genuinely create accountability.
When we are frustrated, anxious and apprehensive, then we are dealing with emotions. These are emotional responses to a perception that a person you manage is not committed, is not compliant, or is not meeting your expectation. In acknowledging this we can find part of the solution to resolving the conundrum.
THE 3 GREAT BIG RULES OF ACCOUNTABILITY
1. Acknowledge the emotional contract.
You can't, ultimately, hold somebody accountable for something without their permission. This is not about them signing a contract to complete certain tasks, it is about your mutual emotional commitment to mutually understood outcomes, that you both believe are important.
If you merely monitor the compliance to achieving tasks, then you are slowly undermining the emotional contract as the tasks become the focus, rather than the important outcome that the tasks are there to achieve.
Nurturing the ongoing permission to be held accountable means showing that you are mutually committed to the achievement of the important outcome, and having a common understanding of why it matters. If you want people to 'give a damn', then show them why it matters, and show them the importance of their contribution to it!
2. Create autonomy and give clarity.
Autonomy is an important human driver; it is freedom. While workplaces can rarely provide full autonomy, we can remove the micromanagement that usually undermines it. We remove micromanagement when we:
These actions not only provide autonomy, they also create a shared clarity of the desired outcomes. In addition we give clarity through the visibility of the teams within which we work, how those teams fit together, and the contribution of each person in the team.
Clarity also involves having awareness of, and the ability to contribute to, the policies, procedures, and training within the organisation. In far too many workplaces, these are hidden in secure drives, or only referenced when things go wrong. Instead, they should be a description of how things go right! They should be the way things are done around here, codified so that everyone has a common understanding.
Giving clarity is how you overcome the perceived fear, or risk, of giving autonomy. It's a major step to reducing the anxiety and apprehension in managing others.
3. Accept that there will be conflicts in any relationship.
Even with our closest colleagues we will, from time to time, have differing of opinion. Create a safe place to discuss issues and take an explorative approach to resolving the differences. Taking the time to understand the differing points of view is not only constructive, it builds trust and enables a mutual understanding of what performance will look like, given the constraints faced to achieve it.
We created The H Factor system to provide managers with a reliable process for instilling accountability, and to give the people they manage the capacity to demonstrate their contribution to the business outcomes.