Under the title “ The Overlooked Essentials of Employee Well-being” McKinsey published a paper by Prof. Jeff Pfeffer, which focuses on job control and on social supports, two of the factors that influence the well-being and the health of personnel. (1) The cost of fading productivity and of personnel turnover are difficult to estimate, however in the US personnel healthcare costs employers abt. $ 200 BN.
The live-forces of the organization are increasingly stressed by all sorts of internal and of external factors, which affect them physically and the psychologically, and eventually they also affect their performances. Change-management programs are designed to improve performances, and, if they do not seriously take into account the well-being of the personnel, they can add a high level of discomfort.
I have published on LinkedIn under the above captioned title a paper in which I revert to the points raised by Prof. Pfeffer, and show that, if properly introduced and implemented, Agile Management can actually implant lasting solutions.
Actually, Agile Management depends on vigorous and motivated personnel and it is designed to contribute handsomely to strengthening the attitudes and the aptitudes of the creative workforce, and to innovating effectively an entrepreneurial corporate culture on which the enterprise depends to attract and to retain the talents needed to sustain success in turbulent times.
The control over the job and the social support
In many traditional organizations, there is a big gap between the planners and the doers. The latter have no control on the performances that have been planned, no control on how they will be evaluated by their boss. People at the lower levels of the hierarchy can feel uncomfortable about their lack of knowledge and their lack of control over their job.
Increasingly, people get frustrated by the rigidity of the “way we do things around here”, and their inability to do much about it. They have to carry on doing the same things the same way and, when performances suffer, they will be reprimanded. And so, people that do not have a voice about what they are doing, just switch off, and as Dr. Deming observed: “When people get to their workplace, they hang up their brain and their coat, and they pick them up when they leave”.
The increasing role played by the knowledge-workers has engaged the leadership to get their personnel more involved in some of the aspects of the management. However, often such good intentions get frustrated by the upholding of the traditional systems of management, of the structures of the organization, and by barriers to the sharing the core competencies.
In his “The Unwritten Rules”, Peter Scott Morgan shows that the way the people feel they are being treated by their boss shapes the “unofficial corporate culture”. (2) The distance between the official and the unofficial corporate culture is a factor of stress.
Whenever there is a big distance between the boss and his/her reportees, there may be an internal competition among the reportees to be under the lime-light and to get a preferential treatment by the boss. The internal competition, which can take place at different levels and among business-units. Missing the support of their colleagues is a source of uncertainty and of frustration. Of course, the support of the boss is also important, but the colleagues are closer and should be easier to talk to.
In a traditional organization, people look to their boss for support. But, bosses do not have an easy job, if they are not good at coaching and trusting, they micro-manage and that will not leave them much time to share and to support their people.
The comforting role of the Agile Management
Unlike big and bulky traditional organizations that are run by command-control-chastise, Agile Management breaks down the business-strategies into simple tasks that empowered teams can deal with smartly, and swiftly. Individuals interact with other team-members, and the teams interact with other teams, and with networks that coordinate several teams.
Agile Management delayers, decentralizes, and delegates the management. It mostly operates on the basis of project-by-project. So, as concerns job control, Agile Management involves the different levels and functions of management in the process of strategic and organizational deployment in order to optimize and to link up strategic and operational agility. (3) Actually, the front-line personnel and their networks are important contributors to the development as well as to the deployment of the business-strategies. They are the natural contributor to short-medium term strategies, while the senior management has to focus on the long-term strategies and on the synergies between the short-term and the long-term strategies.
Agile Management is a team-sport, and teams and networks need their members to be multi-disciplinary and complementary. Everybody shares the same principles, paradigms, and practices, and everybody can see their performance-enablers, and the performance-enablers of others. Everybody sees the <business value> the whole organization contributes to the value-chain. So, like the work of each of the IT programmers is linked in the frame of the IT program, the work of the teams is linked in the frame of their value-chain, and this fosters commitment, collaboration, and collective creativity.
- Jeff Pfeffer “”Dying for a Paycheck” Harper Collins 2018
- Peter Scott Morgan “The Unwritten Rules” McGraw-Hill 1994
- W. A. Sussland “The Platform of Agile Management and the Program to Implement It” Rutledge 09/17