Why do people feel so miserable and disengaged at work? “Because today’s businesses are increasingly and dizzyingly complex — and traditional pillars of management are obsolete”, says Yves Morieux. So, he says,” it falls to individual employees to navigate the rabbit’s warren of interdependencies”. In this energetic talk, Morieux offers six rules for “smart simplicity.”
His accent may be difficult to understand, but Morieux poses the questions ‘why is engagement so little at work?’ Why do people feel so miserable?
He starts off discussing the chicken and egg scenario: “because people are not engaged, they are less productive, and vice versa: because people are less productive, they are less engaged. The common root cause that relates to disengagement and dissatisfaction at work is based on two pillars around the way we organise: (1) the hard – structure, processes, systems; and (2) the soft – feelings, sentiment, interpersonal relationships, trait, and personality. Morieux points out that the hard creates complicatedness”.
He shares his insights with the audience: “when people cooperate, they use fewer resources; when we don’t cooperate, we need more time, more equipment, more assistance, and more teams. When procurements and supply chains don’t cooperate, we need more stock, more working capital. Who will pay for that? Shareholders? Customers? No. It will be the employee”. He emphasises the fact that employees will have to compensate through their super individual efforts for the lack of cooperation, and this ultimately results in stress, burnout, being overwhelmed, and accidents. Morieux then says to the audience: “No wonder they are disengaged”.
When looking at the pillars of work; the hard and the soft, he asks “how do the soft try to foster cooperation?” He explains that the hard, in banks, when there is a problem in the back office and the front office, and they don’t cooperate, the solution is to offer a middle approach which only now complicates things further. In addition, “the soft approach, which is about people liking each other and improving their interpersonal feelings, where the more people like each other, the more that we will cooperate – is totally wrong. Think about your wife and your husband”. Morieux states “just because you love them, doesn’t mean you cooperate”. The audience laughs, which allows him to openly delve into the rules for smart simplicity.
(1) Understand what your people do – “what is their real work?” Morieux reiterates that we need to go beyond the boxes, the job descriptions, beyond the surface of the container to understand the real content.
(2) Reinforce integrators – “managers who integrate power and interest to make others cooperate. How can you reinforce your managers as integrators” Morieux asks? “By removing the layers. When there are too many layers – people are too far from the action. The fewer rules we have gives discretionary power to Managers; thus the bigger we are the more rules we create which is not good”.
(3) Increase total quantity of power.
(4) Extend the shadow of the future.
(5) Increase reciprocity.
(6) Reward those who cooperate.
Morieux finishes by explicitly stating that “organisations will increase employee satisfaction and engagement at work because you have removed the common root cause that hinders both: complicatedness”. He addresses business leaders: “this is your battle business leaders. Your battle is not against competitors. It is very abstract. When do we meet competitors to fight them? The real battle is against ourselves. Against our bureaucracy, against our complicatedness, that only you can fight”.
To watch the complete Ted Talk, please click the following link: http://www.ted.com/talks/yves_morieux_as_work_gets_more_complex_6_rules_to_simplify