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Process and Culture Change

When staring down a towering ice cream sundae with syrup piled to the sky, you go about eating it the same way you would anything else—one spoonful at a time. When coaching your employees toward better compliance in your organization, a sometimes complicated task can similarly be simplified by breaking it down into many smaller, more manageable processes. In the case of Dan Kane at his blog, he uses a flowchart taken from the book Coaching for Improved Work Performance in order to break down the quest toward gaining compliance into basic yes/no questions. Kane lists the fifteen questions that encompass this flowchart, beginning with, “Is it worth your time and effort?” and ending with, “Could they do it if they chose to do it?” But then he picks out a few to highlight in depth, and in the process, illuminate our understanding of how to obtain compliance in our organization.

The first questions he deals with regarding an employee are, “Do they know what they’re supposed to do?” and “Do they know how to do it?” He notes that too often, just because people know what should be done it is assumed that they also know how to do it. If somebody tasks you with knocking out Manny Pacquiáo in a boxing match, you know what are supposed to do, but you can bet he is going to beat your brains in long before you ever land your first punch. It is up to you that each of your individual employees understands how to comply with laid out procedures.

Kane then examines the questions of “Do they think your way won’t work?” and “Do they think their way is better?” In these situations, he believes it is best to ask employees outright if they believe the new policy does not work. When the questions are phrased so that there is no implied negativity, the employees will answer more honestly and be willing to share a method that might in fact be better than the policy you have in place. If their solution is not better though, it is up to you to set them straight and convince them of that.

Finally, the question, “Are there positive consequences to them performing inappropriately?” is explored. These are situations where people are rewarded for not being compliant, and Kane considers one example where a client could not understand why people were “too busy” to address requests in their queue in a timely manner:

One of the things we found was that several employees were taking in requests for work that they handled outside of the standard processes. These requests were usually not documented anywhere, except for a few emails between the tech and the requester. These techs received all kinds of praise from the requesters, who also made sure the tech's manager and the requester's business unit management knew what great service they received. It was so much easier than going through the service desk. We had to really work at cleaning out the “black market” consequences environment. It also pointed out some glaring issues with standard processes, since there were legitimate reasons why people didn't want to use the service desk.

Asking simple questions can provide highly revealing answers. Consult the full list of questions at his blog and consider how you might use them to increase compliance in your organization. Total compliance is like scarfing down the entire sundae—everyone will be impressed with your dedication.

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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