Solving problems and generating results are critical for adaptive workers. This is why worker goals matter. Learn how to articulate the problems to be solved, and the results to be generated, and then empower adaptive workers to determine how best to solve them.
- Here's a crash course in the nature of work. We use our skills to perform tasks to solve problems and generate results. Let me break that down. Workers are problem solvers. How do we solve problems? We perform tasks. How do we perform tasks? We use our skills. Remember, there are two major kinds of skills; knowledges, and transferables. If the past, workers were often thought to need very specific descriptions of the particular tasks they needed to perform in their work.
In fact, many organizations group those tasks into processes, sets of tasks bundled together. And many organizations are very proud of their shiny business processes, believing them to be so unique that they're the main reason the organization is successful. I have news for you. Studies by major consulting firms have shown that most business processes are really not that different. Whether it's by independent invention or simply because there are only so many ways to perform the critical tasks of the organization, there ends up being a stunning similarity between most business processes.
So, we have to get over ourselves and focus on what really matters; solving problems and generating results. Now, why is this important for adaptive workers? Because as industries change, companies change, technologies and competitive landscapes change, managers will find themselves less and less able to precisely describe the tasks and processes to be followed in any given work. Instead, adaptive managers will need to simply articulate the problems to be solved and the results to be generated, and then empower adaptive workers to determine how best to solve them.
Let me give you a few ideas for important touchstones in that process. First, ensure that the organizations overall goals are clearly defined, accurately described, widely disseminated, and continually updated. Workers need to understand the larger landscape in which the organization does its work. Assume that every single person in the organization is smart enough to understand those goals. Second, make sure your team's overall goals are clearly defined, accurately described, widely disseminated, and continually updated.
Whether your team is two or 2,000, its goals need to be clearly linked to the organization's overall goals. Third, ensure that each workers personal goals are connected to the problems and results of your team and of the organization. Fourth, do everything to make sure that all of these processes are fractal and recursive. Fractal means that the process involves and affects every worker in the organization, and recursive means that strategy and goals flow back and forth.
The days of top down strategy processes defined by a command and control leadership are ending. In its place are flexible practices through which organizations continually leverage the input of workers, customers, and partners to aggregate the information and ideas needed to define an effective set of strategies. Adaptive workers also need to balance these shorter term goals with their own longer term goals. Having a clear understanding of the direction of their own career, means that a worker will be far more motivated to achieve the organization's specific goals.
- Characteristics of adaptive workers
- How to be an adaptive manager
- Honing self-management skills
- Developing proactive workers
- Importance of goals in adaptive work
- Developing and supporting remote workers
- Empowering adaptive workers to solve problems
- Collaboration and adaptive teams