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21 Apr 2014

Creating the Conditions and Environment for People to Surprise You

The other day I suggested to my friend to invite a speaker that we both know to speak at our monthly networking event.  My friend said that we have heard that speaker's speech before, and he finds that 'he is so-so, nothing special'.  When I told my friend that I have heard that speaker spoke before recently at another event and find him to be very inspiring, my friend again said, "But he is nothing special".

Is this situation familiar to your company?  How often have you heard of bosses saying that so-and-so is nothing special, only to find him went over to a competitor company and became famous?  You may wonder how is it that two people working in the same organization, having similar education and experience, can have very different opinions on the same person?  This is more puzzling when you discover that people actually haven't changed, it is the environment and conditions that made people change.

Behavioural scientists said that the difference in a person's performance, be it a singer, artist, manager, salesperson, engineer or speaker, under different situations, can be as wide as 90%.  As much as 80% of that difference can be attributed to the conditions and environment that a person is in.

That's why in our management training we teach people that a manager's job is not to hire the best people available, but to make the best out of the people available.  A good manager is one that can turn a mediocre performer into a star performer as long as he can create the conditions and environment for people to perform. The 7 conditions and environment are:
  1. Open and Transparent environment, where people can see directly what are the rules of the game and what they can do and cannot do.  People will then use their resources to create the best performance possible;
  2. Positive and Encouraging environment, where people are free to make mistakes and will not be penalized for that;
  3. Satisfying and internally rewarding conditions, like being able see 'likes' immediately, get praises abundantly and receiving validation even when things go wrong;
  4. Progressive difficulties that challenge people to do better with rewards;
  5. Forgiving culture when mistakes are made;
  6. New ideas and new approaches are encouraged, generated and given free play;
  7. Most importantly, a loving environment where people can feel the loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity and connect with one another at the heart level.  When people are connected, miracles can happen.  Impossible become possible, perspiration become inspiration, self-centredness become selves-centredness
With these conditions and environment, excelling is a daily pursuit, no obstacles are considered too high to overcome, and any constraints quickly become just stepping stones to success.  There is no need for any external rewards, because people derive so much internal satisfaction and happiness in doing a good job that they will keep on doing it even when no one is watching.  For performance has now moved from 'doing my best' to 'excelling'.  Isn't this the utopian workplace that everyone is dreaming about?

By Andy Ng, Chief Trainer of Asia Trainers, details of "How to Be an Effective Manager" is at here.  Related articles on management and leadership include:
  1. It all starts with Law of Leadership
  2. Promotion to Manager as easy as 1-2-3
  3. Don't Be the Leader if You Want to Lead Well
  4. Why-What-How of High Performance
  5. What has Kindness got to do with high productivity?
  6. What to do when you've run out of money to motivate people?
  7. Be as successful as a successful movie
  8. Don't ask questions, ask limitless questions instead

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