I was discussing a dilemma that one of my clients was facing. He was telling me about the challenges his team was going through, and how he had tried to rectify them.
He lamented, “We’ve organised countless events for them, done expensive MBTI tests, carried out SDI’s and had Away Days. We’ve praised them, disciplined them, coaxed them and battered them. No matter what we do, nothing seems to work back in the workplace”
I asked, “What are you hoping to gain from all this?”
He replied that he hoped to improve teamwork.
“And has it worked?” I asked. “Absolutely No!” was his reply. “No difference at all”.
I asked how the team worked together when they didn’t try these initiatives.
“Actually, they work pretty well together. We want them to be the best team we’ve ever had, and that’s why we do these initiatives. But they don’t seem to have the impact we’d hoped.”
“That’s probably what the problem is”, I replied. “You are trying to change or improve something from the outside, when the people who really matter (your team) don’t seem to want to change on the inside. You said that they work together really well when you don’t try these initiatives. Maybe they just need to be left alone to do their jobs. Maybe they think it’s just a step too far. If the team isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.”
Many managers try to fix what isn’t broken. If you take a situation and try to make it better, even with the best of intentions you may make it worse.
Think of the real results you are looking for. Analyse what is needed to get the results you want. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater by trying to make wholesale changes, when it just might need a little tweaking.
Head of Training
Originally published: 29 August, 2012