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Let your Staff Push-back

Let your Staff ‘Push-back’ to Improve Effectiveness

The Context

Observing, or experiencing, inept people is not uncommon. By this, I mean ineffective (not doing the right things), inefficient (not doing things right) or incompetent (unable to do things right). Relying on people’s constructive contributions is key to business success. People are mostly not proactively inept by choice, at least that is my experience.

The Question

Without considering an elaborate intervention or training program (who has time for that), what can you do?

Heuristic 1: Adopt an ‘input~output dependency’ approach

Empower the staff by shifting process control to them. Streamline your workflows so that the input, or lack thereof, is clear, and that the required output is unambiguous to staff.

Heuristic 2: Implement the ‘Push-back’ process

Draft a list of ‘critical path’ questions. See here for examples. Issue a simple directive, namely; “Do not start a task and ‘push-back’ unless you have, or have been provided, answers to the following”.

Heuristic 3: Create a safe ‘Push-back’ space

The more transparent any ‘push-back’ is handled, the greater the chances are the staff participating, meaningful behavioural change and task ownership taking place. Ultimately you are interrogating the information flow, not the staff.

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