Mental Model – How do you create natural flow in your organization?
To complete the first series of articles, I will show how to create natural energy flow in an organization. The first three articles talked about ways of organizing that limit people: how overvaluation of a small group of top performers take away positive energy from a lot of the other employees. How the distribution of power and seniority influence free space. And that experiments show that individual financial incentives reduces team performance. When time is added to these experiments we learn how complex teamwork is. There is still much to learn about team dynamics and team motivation.
In article four and five we saw professionals taking initiative to change their workspace. It describes how professionals by showing individual leadership make a difference. We might think we need a lot of space to make a difference but the article explains that 15% could already be enough. And in the fifth article we learn how imagination of a better world gives meaning to what we do and a lot of energy to create.
In article six all elements come together. It is great when people want to contribute and take initiative in situations where space is limited. Yet it is even more beautiful if people are not hindered to avoid energy-loss. That will happen when people feel supported by management and the organization.Contribution at work focusses on organisations that want to improve so that employees can use the best of themselves. This starts from the conviction that under normal circumstances people do want to participate and contribute. People are social beings. It is important for our wellbeing and motivation to feel part of a bigger whole.
Making improvements is not easy. Changes are happening very quickly, competition can be fierce and opportunities and threats can happen unexpected. These external circumstances create pressure and cause management to translate this pressure to the people in the organisation.
Managers will look for solutions. They question whether employees can handle the pressure. Whether they have the right competences and qualities. Are they showing initiative, courage and ownership. In short, how can they as managers make the organization more agile?
These are very valid questions but as Albert Einstein once said: “ You cannot solve the problem with the same thinking that was used to create the it”. If management’s mental models are still based on the mental model that we need to control and contain employees’ actions and behaviors and employees are used to it, then it will be very difficult for people to be agile.
Contribution at work, works with a different mental model which allows new organisation solutions. She offers a systematic approach based on three pillars:
- Creating workspace:
It starts with organized the work in ways that people can maximise their contribution. The space for people to act and decide will be improved. It will give employees enough autonomy and tools to do their work.
- Positive flow: We create positive flow by the way in which people help and appreciate each other and give feedback. In addition to appraisal, performance management and employee engagement, informal feedback loops and underlying convictions and values will be looked at. What is important to us. Who has power? How do we feel and how does that affect our actions?
- Purpose and meaning:
And last but not least, we will look at purpose and meaning. Imagination of a higher goal and your own contribution to achieve it, are at the basis of the positive energy that we have to our disposal. Contribution at work will look at the contribution of the organization to its environment and society. Subsequently, Contribution at work will investigate whether people understand and see their own and the team’s contribution in relation to the organizational goals.
By consistently asking ourselves how we can support people instead of controlling them, we embark on a journey to new ways of working and we will intervene differently. As a result employees a situation of energy-loss will be replace by an environment with a natural energy flow that fits with who they are and what they want to contribute.