Tag: leadership

Theory X and Theory Y

Theory X and Theory Y

I had the great pleasure to deliver the closing keynote of Voxxed Days Singapore. During the talk, Going Open, I introduced Douglas McGregor theories on human motivation and management that he developed at the MIT Sloan School of Management  in 1957.

The assumption in Theory X is that workers are lazy; they dislike and don’t want to work and do all they can to avoid it. As a consequence, if you agree with that assumption, your way of managing people, who have no intrinsic motivation and no ambition, the system needs to be “command and control.”

The assumption in Theory Y is that work could be as natural as play and rest; people seek responsibility and are able to direct themselves to deliver on their commitments. As a consequence, if you agree with that assumption, your management style is radically different, and the system could tend toward self-organization.

Theory X and Theory Y are self-fulfilling prophecies. Acting accordingly to the theory causes it to come true.

Reconsidering the way we are managing people in an organization is an essential ongoing exercise.

As an example, our actual reward system might perfectly fit the Theory X assumption, while we would prefer our whole team to live under Theory Y.

What about you?

What type is your organization?

What type are you?

Could I behave like X, because my organization is X?

Do you think my organization could change if I change my behavior?

It could be really interesting because X organizations suffer from a centralization flaw. And like spiders, if you cut the head, the organization dies.

By contrast, Y organizations are resilient like starfishes, if you cut an arm, the starfish will regrow it, and even more interesting the arm will regrow a whole new starfish, as all the knowledge needed is available to do exactly that.

Y organization are really like Open Organization.

Open Organization is the term coined by Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat for his eponym book published in  2015. The book written primarily for organizational leaders, demonstrates how open source principles are changing the nature of working and managing in the 21st century.

There are five characteristics of Open Organization:

  • Transparency. Transparency by default as a foundation.
  • Inclusivity. Inclusivity of all perspectives.
  • Adaptability. Feedback mechanism to continuously learn.
  • Collaboration. Collaboration to produce better outcomes.
  • Community. Shared values and purpose.

How can we adopt those characteristics in our organizations?

I then proposed some of the approaches that you can find in the book, Changing Your Team From The Inside, to foster the change in your team and organization.

Going Open – Closing Keynote

Going Open – Closing Keynote

On May 31, 2019, I had the pleasure to deliver the closing keynote of Voxxed Days Singapore: Going Open!

Thank you to all the participants and organizers for a fantastic event!

I had the opportunity to sign my book, Changing Your Team From The Inside on the Red Hat booth, and to meet great people!

The title of the talk is Going Open to Support Your Digital Transformation, the slides are available here and I will update the post as soon as the recording is available.

 

The pitch of the talk: “Do you feel your organization, your team, and yourself are focusing on the right things or are you overwhelmed by the thousands of tasks that you need to do? What do you need to get your organization, your team, and yourself to continuously improve to get to the point of doing the things right? Going open is the best way to support your organization’s digital transformation. Going open is applying the principles of the open organization. Open is the antidote of the lack of focus and the lack of continuous learnings that is ailing organizations today. What are the differences between a centralized organization and an open organization? Learning about these differences can help you advance your objectives in your digital transformation. The open source development model is the root of the Open Organization. The diversity the open source model brings is an endless source of inspiration to transform your organization–and this is what this session will expose.”

 

 

Beyond Measure

Beyond Measure

Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes is a book by Margaret Heffernan published by TED.

And it starts with:

Beyond-MeasuresTrust

The author suggests an exercise for team members. Form pairs in which one will ask a real question and listen for 5 minutes: “Who you really are?”, “What do you want in life?”. Silent listening, maintaining eye contact for 5 minutes is a great exercise. And then we switch role for another 5 minutes.

I already tried similar exercises using appreciative inquiry to start workshop or training with people that don’t know each other well. I can attest this is efficient!

Trust between team members is a prerequisite to developing our ability to talk about our mistakes and to develop our capacity to learn from those mistakes. This foundation for effective teams is also covered in this article: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Social capital

Margaret introduce the notion of social capital with:

“The dynamic between people is what brings organization to life.”

She explains the importance of the time spent together at work, during breaks or lunch. She gives an example of the decision to synchronize breaks in a call center that dramatically improved the performance.

Interruptions

If some time needs to be dedicated to interactions between people, quite time needs to be organized to allow concentration. I already covered this topic in a previous article: Let us Code. One of the example given is a scientific study that shows the danger of multitasking. People are shown a video recording – in a typical news channel format – of a CEO explaining the strategy of a company. People are told to focus their attention to the sequence as there will be some questions to answer after that. They have been asked to give their opinion about the strategy… And if they were able to remember some information, together with not relevant ones about weather, stock quotes, other news alerts, that were displayed on the multiple banners… They were totally unable to criticize the strategy. The conclusion of the study was that multitasking prevents us to think. Quite scary if we think about who are the people addicted to multitasking in organizations.

Rest

The author also quotes other studies on work day duration (more than 11 hours a day lead to depression) or necessity for the brain to rest at least for 7 or 8 hours a day (less lead to reducing the ability to think).

Leadership

Margaret explains the Pygmalion effect: expect great things, and they will more probably happen. This reminds us the importance to define ambitious goals, and to believe in the ability of people to reach those goals.

She encourages also to get rid of silos, and to empower people, to accept that leadership needs to be fluid, linked to skills and not to titles and ranks… Title and ranks could lead a part of the people (unfortunately the majority) to think that they are not good enough… And the Pygmalion effect will play in a bad way.

She recommends to people to choose to make some space for their contribution, even if it’s not their job or their role, just because it’s their life.

The author also gives the example of check lists, that reduced by a third mortality in hospitals as a way to take the power from a few to empower the many. This has been covered in another article: Black Box.

When we accept that there are talented people everywhere, people will think not only about the work to be done, but why we need to do it, and how to do it.

When you have done what is needed, Ask yourself what one more thing you could do to make those people happy?

A book to read (or to listen) and you could start with a TED conference given by the author:

Margaret-Heffernan-TED-Talks

La photo d’entête est de Ryan McGuire.

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