The Genesis Project Episode Twenty-Four

“It’s good to get back together again. It’s been six months since we last met, and I have a lot to tell you.” So began Grace as she and Shirley and Jim sat down in her office.

“At our last meeting, Jim you said that happiness leads to success rather than the other way around. We have just had our best two quarters in our history. I attribute that in large part to our employees’ engagement in our work.”

Jim added: “When people have a feeling of control, their happiness increases. We know that from brain studies. I’m sure you have maintained prudent controls that are necessary in any business, but employees feel that they have more control through the program you have created.”

“In psychology we call that an internal focus of control”, added Shirley. “People with this internal focus of control feel that their actions have a direct effect on outcomes. That’s in contrast to those with an external focus on control where people blame undesirable outcomes on others.”

“As you warned me last time, some of our initiatives have grown stale or are no longer needed. We began with an apprenticeship program. That had mixed reviews at the time. What has replaced it is an organic series of collaborations between employees across the organization. I attribute that to the why questions. Just asking why has really spurred a lot of innovation.”

“We also talked about the need to coach those who are stuck in the ways that things have always been done. That has only been a modest success. I’ve had to make the tough choice to let go some of those who haven’t come around. I wanted to be patient with them, but some of them were like a cancer to the organization.”

“We have changed our hiring practices. I faced a lot of resistance from HR, but they eventually accepted the new hiring practices. I’m afraid that I had to be firmer than I like, but the results have been amazing. Our new hires are already making a contribution.”

“Grace, both Jim and I would like to continue to stay in touch”, said Shirley. “Would you be open to letting us interview a few of your employees to document how they felt about the transformation?”

“That would be great. I’d love that.”

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Transformation is a journey without a final destination.” – Marilyn Ferguson  

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