We often hear people speaking of ‘a clash of cultures’. What does this mean? First there’s ‘culture’ – linguistically the so-called nominalisation (a word that has been frozen in time and can mean different things to different people). One way of thinking about ‘culture’ is as a set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organisation or group.
Do the individuals in your institution, organisation or group share some or all of these characterising attitudes, values, goals, and practices? Or is it sometimes challenging to understand others, to get people to understand you and to get them to do what they are ‘supposed’ to do? If that’s the case, what do you do?
There are various tools, techniques and one particular rigorously tested methodology using psychometrics and the language that others use to facilitate improved organisational understanding and working together. One technique is mentally first of all thinking about the situation from our own point of view and then from the other person’s point of view, next mentally moving to a balcony position noticing the interaction between yourself and that other person. Then from the balcony position mentally moving back to being yourself, taking back the information we have gathered and noticing how we might do things differently next time (or not). This helps us to remember that other people experience the world in a completely different way to us.
I mentioned the rigorously tested methodology using psychometrics and the language individuals use, this is a real help in ‘culture clashes’. Situation: You know what you want to achieve, you can clearly see the benefits, you want to move, now. And they are just not going with you. Conversely as the other person – there’s a lot of detail here and you know what the problems are which you must at all costs avoid and you feel you need some time to consider the matter.
Person A who wants to achieve etc. might say to Person B “I’ve taken some time to consider all the detailed information you’ve given me, and I appreciate the time you have spent on it and the problems you feel we must avoid, so (and really good rapport and a soft tonality is required here) let’s consider why now is the right time to….. Try it out for yourself.” (For what person B would say, contact me).
Some more culture language tips – Are you the kind of person who talks about what you will – attain, obtain, have, get, include, achieve, accomplish about the benefits, advantages. And do people who use this kind of language – avoid, prevent, eliminate, solve, get rid of, won’t have to, let’s find out what’s wrong, drive you up the wall or vice versa? Well experience shows me and hundreds of people I’ve worked with, as well as the statistics; or for others of you I can give you more details on all the information you need to decide showing – that when you use the language of those people who ‘drive you up the wall’, ‘who just don’t see, things the way you do’, or ‘get stuck in the detail when there’s a clear way forward’ then you will get the result you want to achieve …. or be able to avoid the problem. So Culture Club or Culture Clash?
I hope you find this article interesting and useful – it’s food for thought. If you’d like to know more please contact me. Rosie O’Hara: 01224 900748, 01309 676004, 07796 134081, http://www.developingworks.com
Rosie O’Hara is a Certified Trainer of NLP and a Certified Trainer and Consultant of the LAB (Language and Behaviour) Profile®, MIOEE, MinstLM
You might well be familiar with some of the things on the list below, but did you know that the Language and Behaviour (LAB) Profile® not only provides you with some statistics in this respect, it can also provide you with language clues and motivational language to address these issues?
Some of these things may seem obvious to you, I’m always surprised that when I discuss these topics with managers who are complaining about their people not performing, there will often be one item from this list that can be addressed and will make a huge difference.
1. People don’t know how
According to the research (shown in the book Words that Change Minds, by Shelle Rose Charvet), 60% of the working population are motivated by the need for a procedure, and about 40% of the population may even grind to a halt if they don’t have a procedure to follow. As a manager, often with many years of experience doing particular jobs, it is easy for us to assume that a particular task is so easy that ‘anyone can do it’. It’s important to ensure that you give people a procedure. Specify the steps and stages of the task and if necessary make a list of bullet points.
2. People don’t know why
Rodger Bailey’s research (Words that Change Minds) also identified that 60% of the population will need a reason to do something in order to be motivated. Again, about 40% of the population are simply not motivated to do something if they don’t think there is a valid reason for doing it. How effective are you at explaining the reasons why a particular task or job needs to be done? Some of the reasons for certain tasks change over time and in the current climate. It will be critical to explain this to your staff and to give them both the things they will avoid and the things they will gain from this action. Find out what’s important to them and then use the LAB Profile language to influence them to do what you need them to do.
3. People didn’t know they should
This is about rule clarity. The predominant management style is today often very collaborative and ‘requests’ are made rather than ‘orders’ given. This is not saying you should order your people about, however for some people (only 7% according to Bailey’s research, although in my experience this can vary in given contexts which are not predictable – we are talking about people here) unless they are explicitly told the rules they will not know what things should be done. On occasion drastic measures may be necessary to get some people to understand that there are standards and rules that need to be complied with. Alternatively there is language in the LAB Profile to assist you here.
4. People can’t (lack of resources)
This is a definite management problem. Is it right to expect people to perform tasks if they don’t have the proper equipment or enough time? The time problem is an interesting issue because this is about managing priorities, delegation skills, efficiency and effectiveness. Without providing resources or appropriate training this can become a recurring reason.
5. “My way”
This is fortunately not very common because it’s a tricky one to work with. Up to 40% of the population have a strong ‘Internal’ sense about what is the right thing to do in a given situation and usually this is combined with a realistic level of compliance. When you have taken steps to ensure that you have addressed all six points above, it is important to identify what is most important for the individual in the context of the task. Your key skill lies in being able to link what you want them to do, with them having more of things or thing that is important to them.
People who show this ‘Internal’ mindset resist being told what to do, so you need to offer suggestions for them to consider. They will then need to think about the consequences of not complying and make up their own mind about whether this is the right approach to be taking. If they decide to continue being insubordinate without good reason you will need to invoke your disciplinary procedures.
6. Too painful (or uncomfortable)
Remember the things that you hated doing at school or maybe there are still at some you hate doing at home? These are the things that you then avoid and only doe when you really have to, There are a number of tasks that people find psychologically painful such as reprimanding a member of staff, cold calling or credit control. Again, without proper equipment or training the job just won’t get done to the required standard.
7. No consequences
This is a surprisingly common issue. Many managers ‘don’t want to be negative’ they avoid discussing what will happen if something is not achieved or completed on time. Bailey’s research shows that without negative consequences up to 60% of the working population is not very motivated to complete the task or job. There need to be specific problems that must be avoided for up to 40% or they will be distracted by other issues. These people also need assistance with clarifying priorities because they are focused on what they don’t want rather than what they want.
The language and questions for the LAB profile can be learned with us in a 3 day certificated workshop – for more details for your area click here.
There are energy givers and there are ‘time burglars’, or as one of our clients used to say ‘do you want to be a drain or a radiator?’ (Guess who was possibly the biggest drain in his company?) Mostly we use these phrases above when we are talking about motivation. One way to motivate people is by ensuring that they believe in the vision, be that the organisational vision, or the vision of their leader or manager. It’s handy to bear in mind there are people who merely go to work to ‘earn money’. Money is their only motivation, as long as they have done their bit, they are happy. They want to turn up at work, have no aggro, get on with it and then go home, often on the dot of finishing time. In fact they have switched everything off, cleared their desk, got their coat on and are out of the door at ‘finishing time’ on the dot.
Do we actually know our employees and what motivates them? Have we employed people who will ‘just do the job and no more’ or have we spent time ensuring we know what the job requires in terms of skill set? And wait for it, in terms of personality type and does the person we offered the job to have the right personality for the job? Are they a people person? Or are they like a Scotrail guard I once encountered who regarded passengers as an interruption to the smooth running of the train? In terms of the Language and Behaviour (LAB) Profile his focus was on ‘Thing’ (well at that time – because I have encountered him once before when by watching his eyes and listening to the tone changes in his voice he was focused on people and that was when the train was running late). However at this particular point in time, he was focused on his job on the right way to get things done and also on his opinion of who I was.
I decided to sit where I was told (I was still in First Class) and someone moved very quickly to accommodate this man. I was curious why he was acting this way as the last time I had encountered him I had been able to persuade him to phone ahead and find out about the connection. There again it could because my skilful use of language previously had worked this time he ‘wasn’t having any of that’, she tricked me last time. I doubt in fact that he recognised me. But it was powerful proof to me that given different circumstances we react differently. In respect of rules and motivation, if we have too many rules (and some industries and organisations have many!) then those people who dislike rigidly following procedures (about 40% of the population at work), if they not given options will start to leave.
Look at how many opportunity seekers/rule breakers leave a company when voluntary severance is offered. What happens, those who stay eventually internalize the rules and then what we have is a workforce that is highly critical of anyone, absolutely anyone who wants to do anything different? Ring any bells? We then fall into the blame frame, the blame culture. And how do we motivate in that type of culture?
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