Shift from an obsession with financial forecasting to becoming expert in behaviour and attitude forecasts.
The majority of businesses are obsessed with Financial Forecasting with a huge amount of time invested in sharing these forecasts and then meeting to appraise resutls relative to the forecasts, which does little more than help people become experts at forecast variance explanation. This obsession with the end result undermines all of the main contributors to motivation and does very little for building a sustainable culture of high performance.
Shifting to an obsession with Behaviour and Attitude Forecasts would create an environment within which the focus on idenitfying HOW to perform was explicitly shown to be valued far more than being able to regurgitate your last set of results. Such an approach would show commitment to a culture that was serious about performance, motivation and building sustainability through an obsession with helping people become great performers rather than feel like feckless, carrot chasing donkeys.
The suggestions is to focus less energy on Financial Forecasting and build meeting and reporting structures that demonstrate a healthy obsession with wanting to forecast the attitudes that will role modelled over the coming weeks/months and the specific actions/behaviours that will be focused on passionately to provide the best chance of success.
Having committed to the key attitudes and behaviours, everyeone is then pours their focus into seeing how consistently and effectively they can perform with the right inputs to the fore. There is no need to wait for a follow up meeting to provide support, challenge and feedback designed to help increase behaviour and attitude delivery, there is just a day to day knowledge that every effort is being made to do the right thing in the right way. At the Behaviour and Attitude review meetings, which can happen at a schedule of your choosing, the focus of evaluation would be on:
Did we select the right attitudes and behaviours?
How effectively did we deliver those attitudes and behaviours AND what impact did they have?
How did the attitudes and behaviours help us perform and what results did they deliver?
With conversations that are focus on HOW rather than WHAT and an accountability/responsibility to perform rather than obsess about an end number, people fuel the essential ingredients of motivation (sense of control, sense of confidence and feeling of connectedness - c.f. autononmy, mastery, purpose) and there's a greater chance that a high performance/high motivation culture is created (thus negating the need to keep talking about engagement scores).
The hack would work by very simply changing the focus of paranoia within organisations. Rather than being paranoid that I might not hit a number and therefore living in a culture that undermines risk-taking, decision making and a sense of control, confidence and a connectedness to a shared goal, we end up with a healthy paranoia that promotes the effective worry about the rigth things with the right attitudes at the heart of the worry.
If you want to stress people, spend all of your time focusing on the end result without talking about the art and science of producing the performances that will consistently deliver the result.
If you want to create a positive energy in people that means they feel they can thrive instead of survive, then sepnd your time showing you're sesious about HOW performances are consistently delivered through a passionate focus on doing the right things, with the right attitide, regardless of the results.
The biggest problem faced would be finding people brave enough to go against the recieved wisdom that if you want to win, you have to keep asking people every day whether they think they're going to win and can they show you the evidence that they're on track to win.
Find a team to run a pilot with for 6-8 weeks and ask them to role model being obsessed with identifying the right behaviours and attitudes that will give them the best chance of success and to not worry at all about the numbers. Their daily job would be to turn up and support and challenge each other to be ever better at doing the right things, in the right way with the right intent. Monitor how the members of the team are thinking and feeling as they go through the process, don't wait until the 6-8 weeks are up to starting finding out what different it's making!
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