Monday, July 16, 2007

The tendency to deficit thinking.

I've been giving a bit of thought to thought recently. Most recently of all I've had a nudge around the idea of deficit thinking - the way we will in some circumstances look for the negative.
It's generally a defence mechanism - it protects us against risks and dangers.
The phrase"Why is this lying bastard lying to me?" springs to mind.
This way of thought becomes a little too automatic - and becomes endemic in the average corporation.
Examples include the way you'll always find plenty of people on the team to tell you what's wrong with your organisation - but few who will tell you how to make it right.
Cynical, critical, looking on the bad side, glass half empty - no matter how pejoratively we describe it, we get so comfortable using it we find it hard to stop.
One real life example of why we should make the effort came across my radar recently (and no, we're not talking about the company I work for...).
One organisation measured its absence-through-sickness and found the average days off per person a year ran at (let's say) 4 days. The national UK average is closer to 9.
It didn't seem to occur that there might be some lessons about what they are doing RIGHT to be be learned - some carrots to be considered.
No, they went straight for the stick. If you're off work for x amount of time you have to be interviewed by your boss. The idea (actually expressed as such internally) is to scare staff away from swinging the lead. And the best way to make things 'better' is to make sure managers are doing those interviews.

It doesn't exactly communicate trust.

Of course, you probably need a bit of both. But to have a bit of both, you have to think a little less negatively - with a little less emphasis on the deficit - a little more on the trust.

1 comment:

  1. Plenty of companies enfore policies which punish those taking even a couple of sick days a year...

    I tend to find those companies are the type of companies who don't care about their employees, and don't mind losing producivity when a sick worker is forced to come in and infect their colleagues...


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