Many productivity challenges that companies are facing today are caused by management not seeing the big picture. Recently I was meeting with an organization to discuss how to improve productivity in their office. Their directors and managers had build little fiefdoms and would not collaborate with one another regarding work flow, coaching employees, or anything for that matter. In talking with them, what stood out immediately was the fact that this culture had developed through a “land of lack” mentality. This mentality is based upon the belief that resources are scarce and that we need to protect what we have. Because of the fear of losing headcount or getting employees transferred to other divisions these managers felt they had to protect their scarce resources and not let out any of their secrets. They would instead be on purpose not to help anyone else on other teams, and would withhold information even if the act would impact the customer. In talking to the person in charge of these division directors, my curiousity got the best of me when I asked her how she held her directors accountable. She said that she believes in the “hands off” approach and to let each manager lead in their own way. The bottom line is she knew it was a mess and had not a clue that her “head in the sand” approach had cultivated the soil for the “land of lack” culture to run abundant in this division. These problems would not exist in any of these divisions if the directors could view their world and see the big picture. What I am saying is that their participation in not helping has hurt the group overall which they are a part of. They live in the poor envioronment they created along with their employees which makes everybody’s jobs less productive and enjoyable.
Overall, these directors have small picture thinking. They think they are somehow gaining advantage trying to put one another at a disadvantage. The truth is, in the end they are all impacted negatively. After a while, these type of behaviors take on a life of their own and it becomes the “normal” way of doing things.
The head of this department needs to first pull her head out of the sand. She needs to lead the team to exchange their small picture thinking for big picture thinking. These directors need to see evidence of how there is a cause and effect taking place and how working together would actually give everyone a more competitive advantage and a more positive productive work environment.
This type of behavior is common today in many companies. These symptoms of poor teamwork, lack of collaboration among departments and managers, all stem from executive management not framing things around the big picture. If we can work the top levels to frame their ideas and communications on the big picture way of looking at situations people will become accustomed to the big picture thinking. As a result, they will begin to collaborate, share ideas and information with the intent to help themselves—not to help the others of course. Who really cares why they do it as long as they do it. This will counteract the culture of lack and create a culture of striving towards abundance.