“I know I have heard that before,” Vicki replied. “As the manager, it’s not my job to motivate, I am supposed to create an environment. So, what does that mean? We have work to do here.”
“This is all about work,” I replied. “And by work, I mean making decisions and solving problems.”
“But my people know what they have to do, and there aren’t that many decisions to make.”
“Look again,” I encouraged. “Your team is making decisions all the time, if you let them. Most of their decisions fall into two categories, quality and pace.”
Vicki looked puzzled, “What do you mean?”
“How many units are supposed to come off the line by lunch time?” I asked.
“Fifteen,” she replied.
“And so, as the morning goes on, your team is making decisions about how quickly they should go without compromising quality? And if there is a quality issue, they have to solve the problem and make up the pace to reach the goal by noon?”
“And, what happens if they discover that they can maintain the quality standards, and produce 20 units by noon?” I smiled.
“Well, they would probably knock off at 15, or slow the pace down because the goal was 15.”
“But that would violate the contract,” I prompted.
“The contract?” Vicki repeated.
“The contract to do their best. Part of the contract means if they can complete more than the goal using their assigned resources in the allotted time, they are supposed to tell you, as the manager.
“See,” I continued. “That is why 15 is your goal, not their goal. It is the manager who is responsible for the result. And that is the first thing to understand about creating this environment.”