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If you do not adapt, if you do not learn, you will wither, you will die.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Precision People Management

Even though there are more similarities than differences between the genders and races, and even though we share an awful lot of our DNA with the chimpanzees and the bonobos, I’d like to stress the one and most important common denominator that we humans share: our uniqueness.

Our own fraternal twins obviously differ quite a bit from each other, but even my friend’s identical twins who share very similar DNA have different interests and motivators. Whether this is inherent in their genetic make-up or whether it be the result of their striving to develop their own identity, the fact remains that even identical twins differ in many ways. In fact, each person on the planet has their own unique ideas, interests, talents, skills, and motivators. Is this being fully understood in organizations where so often only one set of motivators is used to motivate or influence employees?

In everyday life, our choices are ever increasing. With my meal comes not just a salad. I have to decide which salad, with which dressing, whether I want the dressing on the salad or on the side and whether I’d like the salad with or before my meal. And this, of course, refers to the easier choices. Try designing your blog pages or look for insurance and choices abound. These seemingly endless possibilities and options do not always imply that companies are trying to tailor to our unique desires and needs. In many cases competition is fierce, encouraging providers of products and services to try and win our attention and our business by creating the illusion of more choices where in reality they are just variations on the same theme. Either way, I wonder why there are still so many organizations, HR departments, and managers who treat most of their employees as if they were all from the same stock with the same interests and motivators. Just as in marketing, where the one-size-fits-all approach has given way to precision marketing, I believe precision people-management could greatly increase engagement, motivation, and accomplishments thereby making the organization more successful and a better place to work.

It was Frederick Herzberg who asserted that the powerful motivator in our lives is not money, something I hope you have figured out yourself along the way. The most powerful motivator for most people – there are always exceptions – is the opportunity to learn, to grow in responsibilities, to contribute to others, and to be recognized for achievements. If these are lacking or underemphasized it can result in feeling unappreciated, frustrated, and underutilized. The great organization, leader, parent, or service provider sees the uniqueness in every individual, and takes the little time that it takes to learn more about this specific person and what makes her or him get up in the morning, and to learn more about what drives this person and what makes her or him go the extra mile and still smile. There are many great standardized tests and other tools to assist you in this endeavor, or you can just use common sense and the centuries old tools of observation and questions.

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