Conway Daily Sun
October 20, 2010
By Michael Kline
With all the talk about bullying in our schools, and stress in our lives, this term "peaceful management" really caught my attention. My friend John G. Vincent, a consultant and trainer who specializes in work place issues, wrote about the term as a training tool, after a student coined the phrase in a workshop. Since it is a phrase in its infancy, we can play with its meaning and decide if it has a meaning to us and if we can help make it a movement. Let's explore together. What is peaceful management?
Coming from the Greek root words meaning to manage peacefully - ok, I don't know a root-word from a root vegetable - let's take another route! If we were to paint a picture of peaceful management, we might envision a staff meeting in our conference room by the lake. It's a sunny day, everyone is dressed casually, smiling and happy with all the good news being reported. Everyone knows exactly what they need to do, how to do it, and the enormous reward waiting for them at the finish line, and success feels absolutely certain. Giant butterflies float by. The next big worry is picking a theme for the company picnic! In contrast, sometimes it's easier to define what something is not - certainly peaceful management does not involve yelling at employees or pounding the table with a fist. A stressful work environment, where workers are frustrated they don't know what the boss wants, they get in trouble no matter what they do, they're not appreciated, they lack purpose and feel unsecure about their future does not contribute to a peaceful work environment. Supervisors are frustrated that workers don't think for themselves, owners are trying to make decisions while living in fear of a double-dip recession; certainly none of this sounds like it leads to peaceful management.
I talk a great deal about goal setting, so we won't go into more of that today, but suffice it to say, no one will really work in peace unless they know what they're doing and why they're doing it. If you don't have a written, shared and achievable goal that you're targeting, measuring and tracking with your team, call your entreprenologist immediately.
For owners or staff to make good decisions, they need to be thinking about the purpose - not the just a task. Rather than teach people to memorize a method or system, teach them the purpose and history behind why this is your system. When the system breaks, everyone is better equipped to think of a solution on the fly. When people are expected to work in a "process" environment, rather than a "results" environment, they are stripped of personal value, and of having any stake in the outcome. If you want to take total responsibility for every aspect of every outcome, then you set the process. Staff that has involvement in processes and an orientation toward results, not just processing, then they get ownership of the entire experience and can own the thinking and share in the credit or blame for the outcome. So don't blame employees for the outcome if it's your process and you're simply asking them to be another you. You own that outcome, good or bad. Mind you, this is not a judgment; it's just a decision - fast food giants are successful as a result of processes and the boss is happy to "own" the outcome. This would not work as well for a salesperson or a medical professional, would it?
Every organization needs a management system. Generally, the more involvement the team has in every step of the way, the more peaceful will be the management of the organization. Think about each step from the beginning - goal setting, a strategic plan of what has to happen to reach those goals, systems and processes created to do everything on the strategic plan, checklists and monitoring of the execution of those systems and processes, communications to constantly improve best practices, team-wide training in social skills as well as technical skills and teambuilding that keeps everyone focused and in alignment on a daily basis. We teach that your plan is written annually, modified quarterly, monitored weekly and pulsed daily. The professional teaching of running an organization sometimes forgets the importance of the human element - that modern, liberal thinking that people matter, feelings matter, respect matters, having fun matters, contributing to personal goals matters, giving matters, intent matters, and that all of this is good for your business. As I see it, peaceful management is simply the realization of running an organization in just such a manner.