Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Attendance and the Dance in the Atten(d)ance

Most of the organizations today have attendance recorders where employees swipe in once they arrive at office and many now also have biometric attendance recorders.  These recorders can only record the physical arrival of the employee but cannot record whether the employee has arrived with their heart and soul to work.  

In my last blog on “Accounting of Accountability versus Account of Accountability” I talked about ownership and responsibility from a leader’s point of view and in this blog I am sharing how employees can take ownership and responsibility (bring their heart and soul to work).   Let me ask you to recall your company’s last offsite meet where most of the employees danced till late night and next day morning on the breakfast table you hear the conversations like “I never knew you can dance so well” or “You really have great energy to stay on the floor for so many hours” or “You made others also dance with your energy and enthusiasm” and so on.  Now fast forward to the Monday morning after 2 weeks of the offsite meet and you see the same set of employees swiping the attendance recorder without the energy and enthusiasm of the dance floor.  The Atten(d)ance now does not have the (D)ance (energy and enthusiasm) in them.  Imagine if each employee like in the offsite meet were to bring (D)ance along with Atten(d)ance to work.  I was thinking about this and was wondering why do many employees don’t dance at work and following are few thoughts that I would like you to consider.

They don’t (D)ance with the Organizations values: Each one of us have been brought up in different environments and carry different experiences from home and at work from various organizations that we have worked in the past.  Many a time because of these varied experiences, our values may not align with the organizations value and this may bring down the (D)ance (energy and enthusiasm).  However if you think deep there is nothing wrong or right about values. Values are values and one should either align or find some other organization but not continue without the (D)ance.  For sure it may take time to learn to (D)ance with the organization’s values.  So if you thought that the values of previous organization were like “classical indian music” that you liked and the value of the current organization is “hard rock music” then you may want embrace the new “hard rock music” by telling yourself that “indian classical music” made you fluid from inside and now “hard rock music” will make you a rock from outside.  So being patient and learning to align with new values will help you become rock solid and bring (D)ance to work.

They don’t (D)ance with the Head of the Department: Very often we hear employees saying that the Head of the department does not understand the ground realities, his vision, his ideas are not connecting with what happens in day to day work and so on (in some extreme cases employees may even say who made him the Head). These are the employees who don’t (D)ance with the Head of the Department.  They usually are on 2nd floor of the building and can see only a small radius whereas the Head is sitting on 12th floor and can see the Tsunami of change in the market and how competition has already started to (D)ance.  So it is quite obvious that the employees on 2nd floor are upset with the changes the Head is asking to make.  Imagine if each employee were to put in their offsite energy and enthusiasm in implementing the changes, ideating with the Head of the department and not pulling each other’s energy down they all can have the party with the Head on the 12th floor almost every day.

They don’t (D)ance with their G&O and their Supervisor: In continuation to the above since they don’t (D)ance with the Head they don’t dance with the G&O set by the Head and the spiral effect of no (D)ance with the supervisor. 

They don’t (D)ance with their peers: Finally the whole (D)ance floor is empty as the peers are also swiping the attendance recorder without the (D)ance in the Atten(d)ance.
Imagine if one were to start dancing with all the above starting from organization values to Head of the department to goals & objectives to supervisor to peers, what an environment of energy and enthusiasm can get created.  Which customer would not like to work with such an employee, which father would not like to have such a son, which brother or sister would not like to have such sibling or which colleague would not like to have such a colleague who can dance with any music on any floor.  The concept of dance is the same in business world or under world.  In underworld you cannot say that I will not kidnap jewelers and I only prefer to kidnap builders when the realty market is down and jewelers can give you a better top line. 

I hope this blog will trigger thoughts on why we and people around us don’t dance and bring dance in Atten(d)ance from the time we swipe in the attendance recorder.  Do share with me your stories as my (D)ance (energy and enthusiasm) is seeing people (D)ance to transformation.


At July 14, 2014 at 4:31 AM , Blogger Learn Share and Care said...

Thanks Raj for sharing the below over email :

Shortly after we met, I went off on a slightly longish vacation and a self-imposed rule was to switch off all things/thinking that were ‘corporate’, including emails! As I age, I am increasingly beginning to believe ( and ideally would have liked this realization to have started earlier) that while our corporate roles need to be taken seriously, we must not make the mistake of taking them too seriously- there are many other fascinating parts to life- and ‘zindagi na milegi dobara’!

I did read up several postings on your blog after I returned and must share my admiration for the sensitivity into the real ‘life’ of the corporate world that you capture so passionately. You have been able to peel the layer off pretty easily- and you don’t only see-you are able to understand. Excellent sharing Yogesh!

Specifically on the point you make about Accountability, as I look across organisations and reflect on my own career experiences, I realize a lot of it is to do with the philosophy of co-creation and a willingness to take responsibility for the whole, while transactionally, being accountable for only a part. This obviously rests on a platform of trust in one’s co workers. The best example of this I have seen is during the high wire trapeze act in a circus. When the lights dim and the spotlight is on the artist high up in the air, starting the flying leap from one swing to the other, blindfolded- there are unseen workers on the ground and elsewhere doing their bits- tying the knot of a rope, synchronizing the drum beats with the lights flashes, releasing the swing bars etc- not one of them can ever say- ‘Hey, I tied my knot but what can I do if Raj delayed at his end’??

Each one is accountable for both the experience outcomes- (a) a completely delighted audience and the complete safety of the performing artist and (b) an event tragedy and almost certain death of the performing artist.

Something is making this accountability a non-negotiable in the circus- and I don’t think it’s their balance sheet!!

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