Workplace Challenges

Common Challenges and Practical Solutions

    Our experience has shown us that many workplace challenges fit into one of the following categories.

    This page is a guide that will help you to:

    • Judge whether you have this challenge in your workplace

    • Understand why it is a problem and its potential impact on your business

    • Take-away some ideas to resolve the workplace challenge.

    SILO MENTALITY

    Any of these challenges sound familiar?

    • Competing vs. collaborating
    •  Department-focus vs thinking about what’s best for an organization as a whole
    • Hoarding resources and information

    Why it’s a problem and the impact:

    Cross-group collaboration is one of the top workplace challenges in business today. You are not alone. The danger in not addressing it is lost productivity and lost innovation.

    – Acting out of ego

    – Reacting from fear

    – Me vs we

    – Measurement of wrong things

    Some practical ideas that our clients have activated:

    – Create higher levels of synergy within the executive team on key organizational priorities

    – Have a value that focuses on the antidote: “Let’s Collaborate” (Tourism Toronto) “We are One Team” (Mastercard Canada)

    – Monthly operational meetings as a unit – including sales

    – Compensation and metrics that reward collaborative behavior

    What is one idea from above you could activate right now? To discuss your specific situation call us at 416-572-7563 or email us at info@1-degree.ca

    ACCOUNTABILITY

    Any of these challenges sound familiar?

    – Competing vs. collaborating

    – Department-focus vs thinking about what’s best for an organization as a whole

    – Hoarding resources and information

    Why it’s a problem and the impact:

     A lack of clarity of “ownership” makes it tough to get things done! This is probably the #1 theme in our culture work and people crave more of it. What is the impact of poor accountability?

    • Lower engagement
    • Lack of empowerment (control behaviour vs. trusting behaviour)
    • Cynicism increases
    • Goals not reached – certainly not exceeded

    Some practical ideas that our clients have activated:

    There is a strong co-relation between high accountability levels and strong performance cultures. Here are some practical ideas to try:

    • Have open discussions about what accountability means here, the and the behaviours to fuel it
    • Crystalize performance objectives and clarify roles and responsibilities
    • Recalibrate compensation strategies to align with performance objectives
    • Bottom-up goal setting – ask the front line about what they feel is do-able and align with organizational strategy

    What is one idea from above you could activate right now? To discuss your specific situation call us at 416-572-7563 or email us at info@1-degree.ca

    SHORT-TERM FOCUS

    Any of these challenges sound familiar?

    • Over emphasis on “this quarter” vs “growing our business”
    • Speed and quantity vs quality
    • Control management vs self-management

    Why it’s a problem and the impact:

    Businesses everywhere have increasing pressure from shareholders to deliver results in the short term. This is not likely to fade away. The challenge is that an overemphasis on short-term results can stifle meaningful growth engines such as:

    • Creativity – Space for new ideas and play
    • Innovation – New product ideas, improved ways of getting things done
    • Learning and Growing – Developing capabilities for future growth

    We believe this is a classic “yes/and” vs an “or” choice. As leaders, we can fuel short-term results AND balance that with long-term growth and perspective. Here are some practical ideas to try:

    • Craft an organizational value that promotes longer term thinking & entrepreneurial behaviour like our clients at Neopost Canada – “Fuel growth”
    • Integrate strategic priorities that are 6+ months in duration into all people leader scorecards
    • In organizational communication like Town Halls – communicate strategic/growth oriented milestones vs just shorter term wins
    • Read the “The E-Myth” by Michael Gerber and promote “on the business” vs just “in the business” thinking and behaviour

    What is one idea from above you could activate right now? To discuss your specific situation call us at 416-572-7563 or email us at info@1-degree.ca

    EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

    Any of these challenges sound familiar?

    • Engagement scores are flat or declining
    • Teammates are lacking “discretionary effort”
    • Good rewards seem to be in place, but not motivating as well as you would like
    • Strong results driven culture, not as strong yet on a coaching culture

    Why it’s a problem and the impact:

    Engagement levels are at an all-time low in North America and trending downwards. 69% of workers are not engaged or actively dis-engaged. This means they are checked out or feel indifferent about their jobs and/or the companies they work for (according to Gallup). This is a scary stat!  Many of us feel the impact of poor engagement:

    • Much lower productivity & innovation
    • Tougher to achieve/exceed goals
    • Harder to retain top performers and high potentials

    Some practical ideas that our clients have activated:

    Great workplaces are highly intentional about the inputs for engagement. They plan and execute systematic ways to raise and sustain engagement levels. Here are some key inputs and practical ideas to try:

    • Diagnose Entropy – This is “dissonance in the system” – uncover 2-3 key entropic themes and address them (if you are curious about entropy and want to learn more, send us an e-mail – info@1-degree.ca)
    • Communication Cadence – Review your key communication protocols – Town Halls, Management meetings, 1 on 1’s, Sales team meetings, etc and determine ways to optimize the cadence
    • Ensure You Are Walking Your Talk– Make your organizational values current and relevant so everyone is rowing in the same direction
    • Dial up Recognition – Have formal and informal ways to recognize against your core values/desired culture
    • Harness Motivation – Read Dan Pink’s fabulous book Drive and determine one intrinsic motivator to focus considerably more energy towards

    What is one idea from above you could activate right now? To discuss your specific situation call us at 416-572-7563 or email us at info@1-degree.ca

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