I cycle a fair bit and later in the year I’m doing a hundred mile sportive with a fair bit of climbing. As I live in a relative flat area, at this stage in my training I often go up the few and small hills in as high a gear as possible – to build some strength in my legs. On a number of occasions I’ve had some smart Alec – usually the one descending while I’m huffing and puffing uphill – yell out ‘you’re in the wrong gear’!
Well, of course we could spend ages talking about giving directive advice without understanding the whole context. However, it has reminded me of something that I’ve heard in a professional context on numerous occasions in the last few years – ‘delivering at pace’. Without exception I’ve heard this phrase uttered by senior managers, all with similar characteristics:
- Directive management style
- Continually confuse activity with progress (pedalling furiously and sometimes not even moving forward)
- Have unsustainable working practices, for example long working hours and unrealistic expectations around output
Of course, this leads to disengaged staff, lack of cohesion, lots of activity but poor performance.
This doesn’t need to be the case. We’ve consistently demonstrated over the last couple of decades that delivering change rapidly, with increased productivity, can be achieved far more effectively by putting the performance and well-being of the team to the fore. An example of this at a major investment bank can be read here.
By the way – I’ll be looking for sponsorship for my ride in the near future 😉