How gardening best practices can be applied to management and organizational behavior.
Gardening best practices affect landscaping behavior. As you drive through your neighborhood, the conditions of the lawns either make you feel better about yourself or question your abilities. It may be much the same when you assess the conditions of the marketplace when you size up your competition. Beautifully manicured lawns are a site to behold and the majority of the population, the status quo, wonders who has the time and resources to maintain such a high level of performance. Management best practices affect organizational behavior.
Status quo does not create success.
Organizations that sit atop their industry are revered in much the same way that the best garden in your neighborhood is. How do they do it? What is it about these individual and team practices that lead to such a consistently high level of organizational behavior. We revere their productivity so what can we learn from their approach that will help us improve our own systems? What do we need to do in order to compete in that same level of success?
Let’s explore some of the lessons and similarities between gardening and organizational behavior.
Organizational behavior: The misuse of the grass isn’t greener ideology
Those in a position of leadership often lament how modern employees show no loyalty to organizations. A common phrase among short sighted leaders revolves around how employees will leave for fifty cents more to a sub-par competitor but they don’t realize, “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.” Unfortunately the reverse isn’t true, its not as though organizations have remained distinctly loyal to their employees in a manner that would warrant reciprocal loyalty. In their book Insuring Tomorrow, Author’s Tony Canas and Carly Burnham discuss this workforce schism, “Millennials have a different definition of loyalty than previous generations did. For Millennials, loyalty means, ‘I worked very hard while I was there.” Both parties have grown to distrust each other and organizations that want to thrive will need to reinvest in means to demonstrate to their existing employees and recruits that they value performance.
Organizational behavior: The cattle isn’t always fatter on the other side
Organizations need to understand that the cattle on the other side of the fence aren’t always fatter. Leadership may think that their employees can be easily replaced, but it may be harder than they think to find good talent. Additionally, their competition may not be working with any greater talent than they are but perhaps their structure, systems and culture enable people to thrive in their areas of strength rather than focusing on their areas of weakness. Good gardening and good management practices facilitate organizational performance by working with what you have. If leadership does not want good employees leaving for marginal increases then they will need to create workplace environments that communicate greater value in the person, position and development of their team members. Leaders have to care for their gardens.
Organizational behavior: The grass is greener where you water it
Do you want your team to grow and thrive? You have to water it daily. Areas that you neglect in your yard become obvious rather quickly as the grass withers, flowering weeds pop up and crab grass infiltrates the landscape. Each of these conditions is a symptom of a lack of care or neglect in areas of your yard as well as your organization. Within the organization these indicators are not always as obvious, they require greater awareness of the people, processes and productivity of the team. What can we learn if we take a few of these under performing manifestations from gardening and apply them to organizational behavior?
Management best practices: Withering grass within the team
Keys to change:
Management best practices: Flowering weeds within the organization
Landscaping that has flowering weeds is one that has the resources to flourish but there is a misapplication of effort and/or values. This team has resources and may well be stocked as well as staffed for success but negative behaviors are being rewarded. Greenery can be observed across the yard but it is riddled with weeds that from a distance appear to be flowers. This type of organizational behavior is common in high producing teams where structure is ignored. Cultures that are led exclusively by the numbers or results, regardless of the long term impacts are often the ones that fail to correct negative behaviors before they come back to bite them hard.
Keys to change:
Management best practices: Crab grass woven into the fabric of the team
What is the definition of crabgrass? Crabgrass (n.) a creeping grass that can become a serious weed. This may be the more difficult of the three examples to identify and resolve as symptoms such as crabgrass are rather sneaky in how they infiltrate teams. From a distance it looks like its green and healthy but up close it isn’t right. The underlying leadership issues is the failure to identify and address issues when they are small. Bad behavior isn’t being rewarded but it also isn’t being addressed and the culture is not being proactively cultivated. This could be the wrong people on the bus, to borrow concepts from Jim Collins Good to Great, meaning team members that don’t fit the vision and values (if those are even clear). It could also be that the right people are on the team but they aren’t yet in the right positions and therefore are struggling to affect change due to misplacement.
Keys to change:
Average effort applied to organizational behavior will result in below average team performance
Any business today that embraces the status quo as an operating principle is going to be on a death march. – Howard Schultz, former CEO of Starbucks
If you want to have a presentable (above average) yard, it does not require a great deal of effort but it does require consistency. A good yard does not require super human abilities. To cultivate a beautiful yard, you will need to make an above average effort in the system and maintain consistency. A beautiful yard does not require a wizards touch. Much of the work is in the preparation of the yard in a manner that it can be maintained. Often the difference between the results is found in the consistency of the effort. Understanding the best practices for management and organizational behavior can help you move in the right direction for the performance of your team.
Above average effort applied to organizational behavior will result in above average team performance
We cannot effect meaningful change if we become complacent, if we become comfortable with our own positions in the status quo. – Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa
Good leaders find enjoyment in the challenge, the process and the results. Good leaders are not super heroes they just refuse to melt into the mess of the status quo. High performing organizations are not unicorns, they are composed of teams of people who take pride in performance and rise to the challenge of their competitive environment. There is no myth or mystery to consistently building towards high performance as an organization, it takes a lot of hard work. The tools for success include vision guiding effort, values directing productivity and consistency in the collective contributions of the team to reach the goals of the organization.
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If an organization wants to be able to expect consistent results their managing must be consistent with their messaging.
In a recent research project reviewing organization psychology studies as they specifically applied to criminal justice, I was pleasantly surprised to find applications to my work experience. These multi discipline studies held many important observations relevant to any organization with regards to the impacts of supervisory interactions. Managerial input, supervisory qualities and team performance are key components impacting the health of the organization. What can we learn from these studies that helps our efforts as supervisors?
In a study published with the Journal of Organizational Behavior, the authors observe how managers can have a positive impact on employees working in what are considered dirty work industries. For those, like myself, working in water damage mitigation, carpet cleaning and property restoration, dirty work is an understatement. A key finding of the report was that the recruitment should be geared towards finding those employees that would be a good fit for the organization as much as they would be a fit for the duties they will be performing. Managers provide a critical communication of, “You can fit, you are fitting and you still fit,” as it related to motivating team members to engage in their responsibilities and develop a strong organization.
Incivility in the workplace, according to Harold and Holtz, is experienced both as behavioral as well as perceived. It is known that incivility in the workplace impacts employee-supervisor as well as employee-coworker interactions. The question posed by this study was how much of an impact that passive leadership has in mitigating the effects of incivility. From the research it has been determined that employees who work under a passive manager are more likely to experience incivility in the workplace and reciprocate by acting out in an uncivil manner towards others. Across both studies, only passive leadership yielded significant effects on experienced and behavioral incivility as well as intent and intensity of the incivility. The findings involving passive leadership are consistent with previous research that suggests negative social interactions are more harmful than the helpfulness of socially supportive interactions. It’s not enough to simply be nice or supportive, those in management and supervisory roles need to be active in creating an environment that reduces incivility.
A study published with Crime & Delinquency sought to answer where supervisor feedback and perceived organizational support had a relationship with organizational commitment. For those slow on the draw, this is another means to discuss cultural buy-in. Johnson identified that supervisor feedback, perceived organizational support, peer cohesion, organizational size, job variety, and job autonomy each had positive correlations with organizational commitment. Persons in a position of leadership (PIAPOL) understand that these things are important but often organizations don’t know how to implement them consistently. Previous studies had led to conclusions that officer demographics and job characteristics were related to attitudes leading to commitment, but this study has revealed that the overall environment has a much greater impact. These findings indicate that the culture or environment have a much broader collective impact than any specific feature.
Equality is an issue that affects our nation but it also affects our organizations. Results of a study published in Sage Journals share lessons being learned by law enforcement as a public service entity that are directly applicable to many industries. When officers act in an inequitable fashion it creates questions whether their organization is promoting, passively or actively, these attitudes. Turnover, buy in, compliance and job satisfaction can be improved with an emphasis on organizational procedural justice. The inner workings of justice impact the external workings of justice, “Justice received and given.” Officers who have good relationships with their supervisors will have a direct relationship with increased job satisfaction, organizational commitment and in turn affect their interaction with the public. Supervisory behavior has an impact on officer behavior on the streets, an indirect effect on officer compliance. Police departments, and by extension all organizations, that place an emphasis on procedural justice with training for supervisors will see a positive impact in the extension of that justice to employee and customer interactions.
Organizations that are able to create a positive environment have accomplished this by investing in recruiting people that embrace and enhance their values. The key to consistency in performance in these character areas is that the messaging is consistent with the managing. Organizations who set an example from top down, show by their actions that they are serious about their values and thereby reap the benefits of accountability to those values from the bottom up.
1. Ashforth, B.E., Kreiner, G.E., Clark, M.A., Fugate, M. (16 April 2017) Congruence work in stigmatized occupations: A managerial lens on employee fit with dirty work. Journal of Organizational Behavior. Retrieved from https://d2l.pdx.edu/d2l/le/content/677304/viewContent/3259165/View 2. Harold, C.M., Holtz, B.C. (24 March 2014) The effects of passive leadership on workplace incivility. Journal of Organizational Behavior. 36, 16-38. Retrieved from https://d2l.pdx.edu/d2l/le/content/677304/viewContent/3259156/View 3. Johnson, R.R. (2015) Police organizational commitment: The influence of supervisor feedback and support. Crime & Delinquency. Vol. 61 (9), 1155-1180. Retrieved from https://d2l.pdx.edu/d2l/le/content/677304/viewContent/3259159/View 4. Wu, Y., Sun, I.Y., Chang, C.K. & Hsu, K.K. (2017) Procedural justice received and given: Supervisory treatment, emotional states, and behavioral compliance among Taiwanese police officers. Sage Journals, Vol 44, Issue 7. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/doi/abs/10.1177/0093854817702407
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Another key area that managers have direct impact upon is the annual review, which is traditionally terrible and irrelevant, let our video on this topic help you optimize this tool for your team.
Simple tools and practical insights for personal organization, scheduling and project management.
Part 1 focuses on tips and tools for personal organization. Part 2 will address setting up a foundation for team organization.
Clarity. Consistency. Accountability.
Personal growth is related to personal organization, scheduling and utilizing project management practices to prepare yourself for success.
If you want to hear more from Caiden, you may enjoy his Sport's Picks.
Simple tools and practical insights for personal organization, scheduling and project management. Part 1 focuses on tips and tools for personal organization. Part 2 will address setting up a foundation for team organization.
"Success tomorrow starts with making a plan today."
Simple tools for personal organization, aka daily success, aka scheduling include:
1) a notebook
2) a pen
3) a computer with simple programs such as Google calendar
4) a phone with a task list or calendar (sync with computer)
Making a daily plan should be a habit that helps you to set yourself up each day for success in the upcoming days activities.
1) make your handwriting legible
2) start with the date and think through your day
3) organize your tasks in relationship to importance
4) by keeping structure to your daily outline you can add notes (make sure they are legible)
5) update your task list as you accomplish items as well as when you add them
6) carry over unfinished tasks to the following day
7) make it a habit to set you list the day before, to update at intervals during the day as well as when new assignments come up
Personal organization is a recipe for success. Success tomorrow starts with making a plan today. These simple habits are key to to clarify your activities according to your mission, to schedule for mission momentum and keep yourself accountable to following through.
Dysfunction is easy. Writing sloppily, not keeping items in order and failing to follow through are all set backs that could lead to disaster. Stay on top of yourself - or as we say, "Don't get behind, that's where the farts are (read more HERE)."
Clarity. Consistency. Accountability.
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Jon Isaacson / IZ Ventures - Creative business solutions. We help you connect, collaborate & conquer. #MTWSL
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