I just finished reading an interesting article by Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, in preparation for a strategic planning workshop. The article entitled, “Turning Goals into Results” shares several examples of companies that have used catalytic mechanisms to help them overcome hurdles to moving the organization away from the status quo.
Catalytic mechanisms differ from traditional managerial devices in five ways:
1. They produce unpredictable results because they motivate people to take initiative and exercise creativity rather than following the same routines. This helps employees achieve greatness by doing the unexpected.
2. They redistribute power away from the traditional power holders and toward the overall system. Empowering employees to act on behalf of the customer and the company give employees the freedom to do what is right — even if in contradiction of established rules.
3. They have sharp teeth and establish a tangible process that guarantees the vision will be fulfilled or else management and employees will fail to achieve their goals.
4. They attract the right people and eject viruses. The “right” people are a company’s most important asset. Great organizations find people who already share those value and will exhibit desired behaviors regardless of training and controls. Zappos (http://wp.me/pYHt6-9C) and The Ritz Carlton (http://wp.me/pYHt6-b7) are both great examples of empowered employees providing outstanding customer service.
5. They produce an ongoing effect. They provide no escape route, require 100% commitment and the results can last for decades.
Have you created and implemented a catalytic mechanism at your company?