Divergence – differences, disagreements and conflicts can divide and hinder progress. It can also be costly, accounting for upwards of 45% of staff time spent at work.
Imagine paying a salary of $100.000 annually, knowing upfront that $45,000 will likely be lost productivity. Encouraging healthy conflict will ensure that more resources are dedicated to making the workforce effective. A thoughtful strategy will turn divergence into greater profitability.
Foster Creativity to Drive Profits
Workplace conflict is normal, natural and beneficial. Managed properly, differences of opinion, viewpoint, and perspective foster collaboration and creativity. Beware the undeniable costs that undermine progress, providing negligible benefits. When these costs are at the expense of performance and productivity, they must be mitigated. Organizations should protect their infrastructure from both internal and external forces that result in unproductive conflict, while nurturing the innovation and team building that arises from differences.
• Incorporate conflict awareness into onboarding programs. Let employees know your organization is aware that conflict—professional and personal—can impede performance and productivity. This provides a degree of workplace assurance by acknowledging and validating that these conflicts exist and must be managed.
• Provide the tools and training to manage conflict and improve understanding, teamwork, and cooperation. Tools and training can be tailored to the industry, function, company culture, and individual.
• Strengthen organizational communications. All messages should convey the organization’s core values.
Communicate clearly, fully, and honestly to build credibility and trust. This is especially important if conflict awareness programs are new within your organization.
Simple & Smart: Divergence Driving Profits ©Katrina Patterson 2015
The workforce has been evolving for quite some time. Trends indicate that the typical “nine to five” has been chipped away by a new approach based upon getting results quickly and cost effectively to keep up with competition and the pace of change. The new priorities also weight meaningful work impact and job satisfaction more heavily than stability and security. These trends have resulted in a profound rise in the number of independent consultants who are rewriting the rules by setting their own hours, pay, and choosing the jobs they will take.
Following are a set of steps that can help navigate the world of working with consultants. They will also help manage risks and improve results.
- Compatibility: Assessing the skill of the consultant working on your project is only half the battle. It is important to ask, “Who and what make up my organization?” Critical is matching the consultant with the assignment. This goes beyond education and experience to include, style, preferences, values, and temperament. Utilizing a standardized assessment tool at the beginning of an assignment will help ensure a match.
- Goals: Set a shared view of the assignment, what will be accomplished, when, and by whom. With the sense of urgency to get started and problem solve quickly, the required upfront planning might be sacrificed. To ensure a satisfying outcome, everyone must agree on the general game plan upfront, and in writing.
- Communication: Just the right amount of communication is the key to assignments that exceed expectations. When we fail to communicate, our natural tendency is to assume or infer. This almost always results in an inferior process and outcome. Communicate as frequently as needed, no more and no less. Build in a specific baseline for regular communications so that everyone can plan accordingly.
- Metrics: Setting and adhering to measurements and timelines ensures “happiness” on both sides of the table. Everyone wants to avoid the situation where a consultant seems to never “go away”. It is far better to meet goals and timelines and start a new project if needed. This allows everyone to enjoy and appreciate a sense of accomplishment.
- Outcomes: Typically, an assignment is viewed as successful when the consultant has exceeded client expectations. How does this happen? At minimum, the consultant must achieve the stated goals on time, and within budget. But the exceptional result comes from achieving outcomes that the client never anticipated. Working with a consultant who has “stretch” outcomes in mind goes a long way towards achieving superior outcomes.
Simple & Smart: Five Practical Steps to Maximize a Consultant’s Contributions ©Change Create Transform 2015