A Formula for Organizational Performance So Simple That It Is Ignored

Formula_500_F_13443858_RNR2YnK5y3GRqqtJp79hXtmx1WQSO9ufThe Obama Administration is promoting legislation that would help many students go to community college for free.  This is an effort to once again kick-start education as a driver of economic growth. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/21/nyregion/raising-ambitions-the-challenge-in-teaching-at-community-colleges.html?_r=0

As a former community college administrator and instructor, my burning questions are ‘Why community colleges?’ and “If they have figured out the ‘secret sauce’ for performance, how can we all get some?”

In short, community colleges are masters at change management.  I saw first-hand hundreds of students of all ages enter community college ill prepared for work, and in many cases struggling in their day-to-day lives, and leave the college changed people.  Ready to perform!  Community colleges understand this simple formula that all organizations could learn from:

  • Input: Students enter who are in many cases underprepared and lack the motivation required for success.
  • Process: Faculty connect students to ideas and goals bigger than themselves and instill the skills and habits of thinking.
  • Output: The students leave more prepared to successfully navigate the world of work (and the world in general) and are energized (in some cases, even transformed!)

Substitute the word ‘Employees’ for ‘Students’ and the word ‘Leadership” for ‘Faculty’ and you have the change readiness and adoption ‘secret sauce’ for any audacious goal that you may throw at your workforce.

This suggests that success is all about connecting your workforce to the objective at hand: Be it a new strategy, the roll out of a new technology, etc.  Bam, you have motivation!  Then, help make sure that the employees have the requisite knowledge and capabilities.  Bam, you have performance!

This formula for success, which the community colleges figured out years ago, could not be more easy to comprehend!

  • Why then do our organizations run off into countless directions, many of them pointless, trying to discover the formula for high performance?
  • Is the answer simply, so simple that we do not believe it?

 

Note:The views expressed in this blog are my opinions and do not in any way reflect the views of my employer.

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