Do you have employees stuck here?
On the face of it, this seems the description of the perfect employee. Someone who knows their job, performs it as required and responds to monitoring, observation and feedback. Who wouldn’t want more of these in the workforce?
This type of worker is able to adapt to variations caused by technological, organisational, financial or political changes and still deliver what is required of them, but are they effective and are they contributing to the wider goals and vision of the organisation?
Almost every organisation has one of these people, and if you are lucky enough not to have one, you have almost certainly worked with them. In fact, you could probably name them.
As already mentioned, this person knows what is required of them – They know it religiously and in detail. They know every term of their contract, what they are required to do, and crucially what they are not required to do. They turn up on time, and they leave on the dot. They deliver exactly what is required….Nothing more, nothing less. If they are told to change, they will do, but at the latest permissible opportunity and not without resistance.
If their phone rings at 12:31, they won’t answer it because their lunch break starts at 12.30. If they get an email asking for urgent information at 4:55 they won’t send it because they are allowed to leave at 5pm. Why should they? It’s not their fault that someone needs that information at that time of day and no-one is going to pick them up for it either.
If you still can’t picture someone like this who you have worked with, they are the cynical one. The one everyone knows does the bear minimum. The one that grumbles and complains in the corridor without offering any practical solutions. The one that turns up, gets paid and goes home again, day after day after day.
There are several reasons why people end up in the compliance loop. For some it is lack of confidence, lack of ambition, or lack of opportunity and for others it is laziness or a sense of self-entitlement. Or perhaps it is just ignorance. Whatever the reason, they all have one thing in common; lack of sight of the bigger picture.
They don’t know the overall vision or purpose, or if they do they don’t trust it, or trust others to deliver it. They are not committed to the cause and they don’t seek constant improvement on the journey to high performance.
Are you still thinking you want more of these? or are you thinking you want more people who believe in what they are doing and why, work cohesively and effectively with others, are committed to the cause and are constantly looking for ways to improve?
Apprentices need to be aware of these alternative states of existence so that they don’t default to this position and also so that they recognise it in their colleagues.
Managers need a handle on this and need to be armed with a range of strategies for overcoming intentional laziness or lack of motivation.
Senior leaders need to gain an insight into how endemic the problem is and the impact it will have on strategic planning and business growth. This may require some re-modelling or restructuring to overcome which requires sound judgment.
Find out more about our Apprentice Development, Leadership and Management, and Enabling Judgement in Executives and Directors programmes, which all focus one developing purpose, commitment and growth.
To start a conversation on developing growth, contact us.