Habits, Systems, and Playing Games at Work
The worship of busyness invites inefficiency. Efficiently doing what doesn’t matter isn’t effective.
Effectiveness is asking, “What to do.” Efficiency is asking, “How to do it.” Leadership is thinking about what; management is thinking about how.
Effectiveness trumps efficiency.
Peter Drucker said, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”
After “what” comes “how.”
Too busy to enhance efficiency is like chopping wood with a dull ax, lots of sweat with few results.
Repeated behaviors call for systems. If you do it over and over, create a system.
- Enhance efficiency.
- Boost productivity.
- Show the path forward.
- Free minds for greater endeavors.
Systems are a collection of good behaviors
that form an organizational habit.
More observations on Facebook.
Create systems by working on the way work is done. Systematize:
- Problem solving.
- Crisis management.
- Constructive dissent.
- Performance reviews.
Lousy systems hinder rather than enhance.
Peter Drucker warned, “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”
Efficient systems are:
Unchallenged systems become roadblocks.
Behaviors you wish were repeated call for systems too. Leadership teams are so busy leading they forget to work on leadership, for example.
The folks at BIZGAMES sent me a couple decks of cards – games that help leaders develop themselves and their organization. I’ve started several meetings with the “Leadership Praise or Concern Deck,.” I love it because it provides a creative opportunity to work on how we work together.
Use games as a system to engage in neglected activities.
I invite you to check out their site and explore the Praise or Concern games they offer. The only deck I’ve used is the one for leadership teams. I recommend it. (Uncompensated endorsement)
Exclusive offer for Leadership Freak readers:
Use this code: LEADERSHIPT6FT for 30% off your purchase of BIZGAMES products. Offer good till September 30, 2013.
How might games help leaders establish productive organizational habits?
How have you seen systems work well? Not so well?
Games = fun.
Fun = I learn better and think better.
So for me, at least, games = more productivity.
Nicely said Matt. Just the novelty of doing something different or unexpected activates brain cells.
Dan, you make a point that’s near and dear to my heart, “To efficiently do what is not required is ineffective.” May I also add another corollary, “Don’t confuse activity with action.”
As a lean practitioner in the manufacturing world, I spend as much time focusing on “effectiveness” perhaps even moreso than efficiency. A classic example of ineffectiveness and “activity” is the creation of inventory “to keep the people busy.” Ineffective and very costly.
Another great post as usual Dan! Thanks for listening.
Thanks, I’m with you.
Perhaps all we need to start asking people is, “Why are you doing this?” If they look confused, see if what they’re doing matters.
Dan The WHY CHAMPION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THAT is so GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SP Back to the Present!!!!!!!!
So true. It’s great to know the purpose and how your tasks contribute to the immediate and overall mission.
Well said on behalf of Simon Sinek and the rest of us I heartily, enthusiastically invite you to join us in The Why Movement!!!
Learn all about it simonsinek.com.
SP back to working feverishly cause my Why is clear and in the right place!!!!
Oops meant startwithwhy.com
Thanks Scott. I will take a look. It’s on my list. Appreciate it.
Repeated behaviors ARE systems.
Also to continue ANY behavior one could enhance their experience by clearly defining their PURPOSE of why they are doing it.
Chopping wood with a dull or sharp axe………First Things First, PURPOSE. How about my family is freezing and we can’t cook the food I gathered for them if I do not get this wood small enough to go in the wood stove.
See the purpose of the purpose? A man will get that wood cut, dull blade or sharp if the existence of his family depends on it.
If PURPOSE not identified and placed correctly FIRST any resistance will stop the Dude or Dudess from accomplishing any task.
Why clearly defined it gives way to the determination to find everything else that needs to fall into place. How, what, when yada yada yada.
Question about behaviors giving me results is…Are these the results I want. Behaviors ALWAYS give results. I just have to be willing to ask myself constantly if these are the results I want?
Systemitize……..# 3 gave me a HUGE belly laugh.
Just think about it forwards and backwards for a second…..
WHY in the world would I want to manage a crisis? I would rather it be dealt with effectively so it goes away? Wouldn’t you? Manage………..Oh the HUMANITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If so say EXACTLY what you mean? Don’t use open-ended generalizations. One’s subconscious mind that delivers will deliver general or specific. It don’t know the difference but YOU DO! Think specifically.
Why? We are either wandering generalities or directed specifics? Make the target EXACT and you are more likely to know when and if you hit it. Just saying.
I know that is picky but DARN it words really matter,(to the subconscious mind) and to PEOPLE! I heard once the devil is in the details.
You want to go on vacation? Where, answer generally where ya gonna end up? Sitting at home generally WONDERING where ya coulda gone!!!!!!!!!!! hehe
It is VERY important to be I am very clear in the communication I have with myself and then others.
Just because I see something, recognize what the person sharing with me is getting at, isn’t it. BE Specific, GET Specific. As you THINK, you ARE…………WHAT DO YA THINK THAT MEANS????? LOL
Taking time to think clearly is invaluable to me.
Systems WORK, it is for me only to determine if the one or ones I am using is getting me the results I want.
Games are cool, can open a closed mind by distracting it! LOL
Anyways, thought for dee day!!!!!!!!!!!!
Where ever God is I am, I am wherever God is!
Game for the day, if God is omnipresent, where is God not?
Wrap your head around DAT one Grasshoppa!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have a great one Dan, thanks for getting the thinker going this good morning!!!!!!!!!!
SP Back to the Present!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“Repeated behaviors are systems” 🙂
Over-investing in the search for an answer, becomes a fantastic distraction. It feels like ‘getting somewhere’, even if you don’t arrive. Dan, you mention asking “why are you doing this?” as a way of discerning the real value of completing an action/task. Which characteristics would an ‘effective’ answer have (as opposed to an ‘efficient one?)
Thanks for your thoughts
Sometimes I’m so frustrated with wasted conversations about “why.” Just shut up and do something. However, I must bow to “why” on issues that matter.
I suggest answers that reflect and/or connect with mission, vision, and values are effective. You?
Wonder if the asking of ‘why are you doing this’ should not already be known by the leader and asking it may indicate being out of touch. Would hope the individual already knew the alignment with vision, mission, values, but if it is after the fact, bad timing by the leader…get thee to the Gemba more often!!
More commentary on the correct positioning of WHY!!!!
What a great day here!!!!!
First and should be in neon lights everywhere!!!! That is where WHY ought to be!!!!
My why is my momma has Alzheimer’s and I am trying to accomplish as much as I can before she can’t remember.
Everytime I think I am at my limit I go over my WHY again and get back to work.
Nothing inspires human beings to act more than a clearly defined why and people who do not “get it” just have a misunderstanding of what why means. No biggie just a misunderstanding, a screwy definition, happens all the time.
That is why they could read Simons book and then they will most certainly become a Why Champion!
How is so lame cause it don’t matter. When the Why is big enough you will find how.
If your how is big enough you wont find why.
Always look at stuff backwards and forwards to check it on the truth scale.
Stuff that don’t work both ways is just gum flapping.
SP back to the present
Great thoughts, Dan. One thing to avoid systematizing is your relationships with clients. That’s not to say you can’t have a system for customer/client relationship management, just that scripted conversations DON’T build relationships at all.
Flexibility in your systems is important, too. Systems are great allies until they become great enemies as you build value and grow your company.
There are times when we feel we need to just get things done. Sometimes the nature of our jobs have long lead time results. The results may materialize in 6 months to a year. This makes us eager to accomplish “stuff” to feel we’re valuable and effective. I call it laundry list mode – lets see how many things we can check off as complete which many times have no purpose or are very low on the totem pole. Invest more time thinking, reading and learning as you work toward your long term results. Good stuff.
Systems work well as long as there are few exceptions. If there are a lot of exceptions it’s not really a system. People are easily lulled into thinking there is a system even though there are just as many exceptions to the rule as there are compliant items. Rework the system to mininize exceptions or lose it. Life will be easier.
I would say begin with WHY then proceed to how and what. Few people move forward until they know why, so why not state that up front? This model was presented by Simon Sinek in 2009, and used in a professional learning article by Lois Brown Easton entitled, “The Why, How and What of Professional Learning.” Good stuff for educators and all folks leading change initiatives.
Wow Vicki where have you been all my life?
Bless you for sharing about Simon!!!!!
One of the few people I can say have actually shifted the shifter !!!
I challenge any human to take their paradigms to what Simon says and not have a very different viewpoint after!!
Can’t be done!!!!
His video in youtube. Understanding people and business. Brilliant!! Free!!!
Simon has a new book coming out early 2014. Supposed to be on business cultures and how to fix them!!!
Bless you fellow my early adopter warrior princess!!!!
I HONOR you for bringing the peeps. The better!!!
Party on Wayne, uh I mean Vicki!!!
SP back to the present!!!!
Why champions all over this blog today!!!! Hallelujah!!!
Systematize? You making things up on the fly? Haha, I like this post, been busy lately so I haven’t been around on here but it is nice to see you still coming up with interesting ideas and making up new words. Enjoy the week.
To: Dan the Whys (wise) champion
What=Effective…those who lead
How=Efficient…those who manage
Why=Essential…those who do the work (need to know WIIFM on
many levels—from the day to day delivery to
creation of organizational culture to my place in
Reblogged this on IAm Synt.
“If the people to lead it well are not there, a better system will not produce a better society.” Robert Greenleaf
When good people are free to lead they challenge the bad systems and systematicallize (did I get that right?) good behaviors into good systems.
Thanks, Dan, for being so systematically provoking!
So true. There are far too many people in leadership positions who continue to perform as managers. Thanks for the post!
Great post Dan. Add this one to your ‘leadership dictionary’, (Re-Prioritizer). In todays climate change is a constant. This makes expediting efficiantly extremely difficult. You need to frequently ask yourself “is this the most important thing I should be doing now”? One thing is the same for all of us, there’s 24 hours in everyday. To keep ahead of the game you’ve got to consistantly re-prioritize. The ‘to-do-list you made this morning will change as priorities change. The second most important thing to do thet day may not even make the list at the end of the day.”Don’t allow busyness that does not produce results to devour any of your precious time. Remember, “the most important thing to do, is the most important thing to do”!!! OVER & OUT DANO…
$89 for a deck of cards? Now that is business.
I liked the rest of the article though as it made sense and was simple.
Provocative post, Dan – you’re forcing me to think differently than usual, which is always a good thing 🙂
I tend to focus on “the how” – in the sense of how we do our work (active, intentional, connected to purpose and passion), not how work gets done (passive, process). To my mind, how we do our work is equally – if not more – important than the work we do.
Let me try to distinguish – “the how” I have in mind has to do with people qualities, like collaborative; flexible; adaptable; supportive – which we try to apply to “the what” – the tasks we are asked to do in order to support the our clients and the organization’s purpose; vision; mandate.
I think in this sense, “the how” is closely related to “the why” – which is, and must be, central.
I’d be interested in your thoughts…