While the new generations of workers are changing the way business is done, many companies still live in the manufacturing era. Fixed work hours, specific dress codes, limiting behavioral guidelines and expectations are common examples of the efficiency focused manufacturing style of management. The goal is to make everything predictable in order to get the product out the door faster.
How can we cultivate uniqueness in spite of this mindset?
My Way Is Just Different Not Better
If we ask 10 people to go from point A to point B, we are likely to see more than 1 way to do so. The end result is the same. We are also likely to see that each person believes their way was better.
The fact is that each person’s way wasn’t the “best way” but the best way they knew how to do it. It is in the process of allowing these different approaches to happen that creativity flourishes and the “best way” is found.
Treat Everyone Appropriately
Shaquille O’Neal and David Robinson both played in the NBA as center but didn’t have the same personality, style of play, or strengths. Hence, their training and coaching had to be different; same role, different coaching style. Similarly, two analysts in the same role shouldn’t be treated equally when their skillsets and personalities differ. Treating everyone appropriately is about individualization and recognition of uniqueness.
At the end of the day, we have to be efficient with things but effective with people. Change can only come from people thinking and acting differently. We can have detailed policies and procedures but we still need to get people to follow them. We can’t find uniqueness on a piece of paper.
In what ways are you cultivating uniqueness today?