A Finance Manager, Ops Manager, HR Manager and a group of Employees walk into a bar. They all fight over whose round it is. End of joke.

The Finance Manager had noticed that the Ops Manager and HR Manager always ask for more money than they need. They also noticed that every year they spend all of the money they asked for whether they needed to or not. And those Employees seem to be the biggest cost (opportunity) of all.  If only those people would change their behaviour, stop working in silos and be more accountable.

The Ops Manager had noticed that the Finance Manager and HR Manager want to put controls in place for everyone to keep everything stable. They also noticed that changing the amount or placement of people is their colleagues favoured way to try and improve performance. And as for trying to predict how much time and money is required – we better ask for more than we need and build in some extra for safety, especially the labour component. If only those people would change their behaviour, stop trying to control what is uncontrolable and let us do our work.

The Employee’s had noticed that the Managers always wanted improvements relating to time and money but it usually came at their cost. They started to spend more work time with their Union trying to get a fair share of the money. If only the Managers would change and realise how important Employees are.

The HR Manager had noticed that the Ops Manager and the Finance Manager want to have people ‘on the tools’ all the time. They also noticed that despite the Manager’s desire for continuous improvement there was little time and money spent on the growth of the people doing the work. To make matter worse, every time the Managers would put pressure on improving things the Employee’s and their Union would resist. If only everyone would stop fighting with each other over time and money.

If only those people would change!

I have said this in a previous post but it is worth repeating. The thing is people respond to the environment they are in. They respond to the operating system they are part of.

The most common operating system today was actually designed in the industrial age when things moved much slower. That is when silos worked. That is when controls and restructuring worked. That is when people were expected to do the same thing day in and day out and work like machines. That is when Unions were formed to protect Employees. That is when that operating system worked.

That operating system is very ingrained in us. That operating system sets us up to compete with each other. That operating system is old and tired (well at least the people in it are feeling that way). That operating system doesn’t work in a fast-changing world.

It’s not the peoples’ fault. It is the operating system they are part of.

Let’s look at what is going on.

The people looking after finances want to reduce the time spent and keep the money. They compete for their time and money.

The people doing the work want to keep their time and get more of the money. They compete for their time and money.

The people looking after operations want to reduce the time spent and spend money on improvements. They compete for their time and money.

The people in HR are trying to keep everyone working together and deal with the conflict that keeps turning up. They are trying to stop everyone competing for time and money and prevent it from turning into a more serious conflict.

Houston, we have a problem!

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P.s. Here is a link to the next post: 22 serious problems when people compete for time and money (HPtE #9)

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