Summer is gone, the trees are turning golden brown and weathermen are describing blustery showers that are actually gale force winds and constant rain. As we are drawing to the end of October, our news feeds are filling up with doctors warning of the dangers of childhood obesity and our shops are selling Halloween chocolate treats.
Retailers trying to sell “treats” for kids is now dominating Halloween which is the only time it seems acceptable to dress as a werewolf for work.
Trick or treat? – The classic rhetorical question (does anyone opt for trick?). But it has been getting Ted Robinson, Owner of TAB Birmingham thinking as he has been filling his shopping trolley with chocolate eyes and fangs….
How many of us use “trick or treat” management in our businesses and is this really the best model?
The “trick” – business management by threat of sanction.
The classic “do this to this standard, or else.” There is certainly a strong argument for sanctions. If staff are not doing what they should be doing, then action needs to be taken or business leaders can face anarchy and chaos. However, are business managers asking the right questions? Have they been recruiting the right people in the first place (with the right skills)? Are they training them properly and ensuring they really understand?
Business owners can also face the issue of “the trick” becoming the norm and losing its impact. As kids know, knocking on doors and running away is boring if people get used to it and stop answering. The only way to keep it useful is if the sanction becomes even more fierce – is that really the way to keep good staff motivated?
The “treat” – rewarding your staff is good.
But, again, it will only begin to escalate as people begin taking bonuses as the norm and start feeling “cheated” if they don’t get them. Business owners definitely can’t begin reducing them. Ted once gave fruit to some “trick or treaters” two years ago and last year nobody knocked on his door! People do react well to rewards but are managers rewarding the acceptable rather than the exceptional?
Trick or treat management can work and can work very well. But it does have its pitfalls particularly as a business grows or if this style is used for a long period of time (the tricks and the treats must get bigger to have an impact). So, what else is available?
“Hearts and minds” business management
Now, before you stop reading because you think this is suggesting some tree hugging, pre-work meditation or only doing things if our spirit animals are in sync, it’s not! Firstly, are business managers clear on what the business vision is? Not the “what” but the “why.” Are they clear about this and are they communicating it properly and frequently?
Secondly, do the staff they are managing really “get” the Vision? Are they believing in it, are they committing themselves to it, and do they know the part they play in delivering it? Would knowing and articulating the Vision and Culture help to ensure that business leaders are getting the right people in the first place?
People will begin working better together when they have common purpose and common goals. If they’re truly brought into the Vision and start to fully support the culture, then they will begin achieving more.
So the real question for business managers to start thinking about is: would “trick or treat” management start working better if the “hearts and minds” business management model was first set as the foundation? An interesting question to ponder……but for now, it’s time to don the werewolf costume.