A More Perfect Union0
By Frank J. Rich
When was the last time you started a relationship with an organization at which you were given a written description of what you might expect from the organization? Whether beginning a new job or project we seldom benefit from a “resume” of the organization’s skills and talents for achieving the stated outcomes. Executive coaches often refer to this quality in organizations as “success dependencies.” The cloud in one’s mind usually reads something like this: What about this new organization is a clear demonstration of their ability to succeed after I get there, and what evidence do they offer to warranty the behavior necessary to the achievement they expect of me? Employers and employees alike are openly passionate about each other, but when it comes time to shake on the deal only one of them has paper in hand with the details of what he must do.
Oddly, for as common as are job descriptions and goal sheets (for individuals), they are seldom matched with the same from the organization. In fact, the psychological contract between employer and employee—a set of beliefs about what each is expected to receive and to give—may be the most unilateral of contracts. If, in fact, a contract at all, by what mechanism have we constructed this model of agreement in which the responsibility of one side is in writing, and that of the other is imagined, or worse, taken for granted?
Perhaps, we are carrying the artifacts of an earlier era in which the employee is assumedly less valuable to the organization than vice versa. What does that mean for the phrase, “People are an organization’s most valuable asset?” One can only imagine, and some have—enter the knowledge worker whose broad understanding of the comprehensive contribution necessary to an ever faster moving market economy is transforming the view of human capital. Clearly, absent real equity in the arrangement, organizations are at risk of losing good people for insensitivity to their responsibility in this important contract between employer and employee.
So much of our effort depends on the passion we develop for our work and our organizations. Whether written or just spoken about, our expectations and the passion that excite them, have a significant impact on how we think, feel, and act, no less on our attitudes toward work. In fact, not unlike the anticipation of flowing ketchup as we take in the smell of grilled hamburger, expressed expectations have a greater emotional effect than the actual meeting of them. Surprised? Think ahead a month or so to anticipated joy in the holidays and the actual results. Here’s hoping you are outside the curve.
In our efforts to form a “more perfect union” between employer and employee, consider three key elements in the model of engagement necessary to cooperative achievement. In everything be reminded to communicate, initiate, and adjust in your march to achievement.
Source: Integro Leadership Institute