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This month all eyes are focused on the World Cup football that is taking place in Brazil. I have always enjoyed the game and used to play it throughout my school years and thereafter until I had to admit that the legs were not as fast anymore as they used to be. Now I watch the games on television and what surprises me is the amount of time television stations spend to discuss the ins and outs of every game, before and after.Presenters and panellists begin their deliberations an hour before each match during the so called “Match Build Up” and predict what may happen in detail. Very often, things turn out differently and during the break they analyse why the game is developing the way it is and adjust their predictions. After the match they split hairs to explain exactly how and why the match ended the way it did. Replays from all angles and high tech helps them in getting their point of view across. They talk and talk and talk … until the cows come home. And indeed most of the time things turn out differently. It seems very difficult to foresee exactly what will happen. In doing business we also see this urge to predict what will happen more in relation to investments. Investors, banks, institutions that provide subsidies, they demand to know the predicted rate of returns for a number of years before they decide to put their money on the table. And yet, in reality things more often than not turn out very differently than predicted.
The past few weeks another World Cup tournament took place, namely field hockey. I happened to watch some of the games and as the tournament progressed I became more and more impressed by the way the sport is played and managed. Hard working top sport players, focusing on their game without intimidating the referee, without theatrical pretence and no foul play. Whenever there was a dispute or doubt over a decision, the situation was referred to the fourth official who watched several replays from different angles and then made a decision, accepted by all for the game to continue. Why this kind of technology is not used in soccer I fail to understand and why the game of football and the behaviour of players have been allowed to develop the way they have beats me as well.
In any case, in the end it is only the result that matters and not so much how.
In fact the results we get from what we do depend on the combination of three factors: Knowledge (I know), Skills (I can) and Desire (I want). And this is not limited to physical work but applies to social-emotional behaviour as well. A manager for example who really wants to move their company forward but lacks the emotional intelligence and skills to motivate and encourage their workers will probably not succeed as much as they wanted. For the manager this concept applies to both themselves as well as the workers they are supervising. In other words for the manager to be a good manager they consistently needs to update and apply their management knowledge and skills and they need to make sure that their workers’ knowledge and skills are up to date as well and that they are motivated to deliver good results. It is therefore important that a comprehensive Human Resources Management policy is in place which includes staff development as well incentives that motivate and encourage workers to deliver good results. If any of the three factors are missing or don’t receive sufficient attention, results will go down. The secret therefore lies in the consistency in which all three factors are paid attention to by management. Consistency is a difficult characteristic though and with all the other issues managers have to pay attention to it is easy to relax on the HRM part of the job, thus gradually allowing results to go down. Ask yourself how much attention you pay to balancing the three factors. Mind you if you pay attention to all three factors but perhaps not enough, results will also go down.
Also the way we see things, determines the way we do things and the results we will get. And as long as we see and do things in the same way we will get the same results. If we want different or better results, it therefore logically follows that we need to see and do things differently.
Why for example are there still few women in top management positions as compared to men? There are more factors involved here but one could be that we still see women as less capable than men to manage a company. As long as we see women as less capable than men, recruitment will not focus on women candidates and women staff will not be given the same development opportunities than their male counterparts. As a result we still see women employed in stereotype female positions, like secretaries.
The moment we accept though that women are equally capable of managing a company, our recruitment and staff development procedures may change and as result we may see more women managers.
So if we want different results we need to see things differently and we have to do things differently.
If we don’t do things differently we should not expect other or better results, even if we talk about it until the cows come home.