One careful owner or high-octane petrol head?

By Colin Miller, Kent County Council

To hazard a guess, I suspect you own a car or will at some point. What type of owner are you?  The sort that would like to replace their car as quickly as the change of colour at traffic lights?  Do you want to fill your nostrils with that evocative new car smell, buttons, gadgets, technology, powerful, economic, fuel efficient, technological, eye-catching, mean looking machine which can go faster than grit off a shovel?   Or is your car like a close friend, been so many places with you, you know every nook and cranny and you prefer to drive it into the ground (figuratively) as it eventually dies?

Although personalities can often change dramatically when behind the wheel, how we approach driving may offer an insight too.  Are you a courteous and considerate driver or intolerant and frenzied?  I suspect most people are somewhere in between which got me thinking about using this as an insight into how we approach work or indeed those we work with.

This is pertinent to me as I have been buying a car recently (you may have guessed).  Applying this analogy in a self-evaluative way, I see myself committing to the car I’ve bought for a while and wanting to stay the distance because of the time, effort and expense put into choosing and buying the right one.  However, there is also the excitement of something new, better and more modern when I do change. 

Both what we do and how we do it are key to performing well at work.  From a reward perspective we need to think about what attributes and behaviours we want to accentuate within our organisations.  A degree of stability and familiarity is appreciated by most people but in this climate of change with the need to do things differently and lead from the front, then maybe we need to understand ourselves better.  How we interact with situations, others and react to doing something outside of our normal comfort zone, by buying that new car, may help us, not just to stay on the road, but drive in the fast lane.

Within my organisation we are currently undertaking a huge change programme and understand that we can’t continue to do things in the same way.  Within the next couple of years the funding for Local Government will be approximately 50% of what it was before the recession.  Most organisations will have their own and similar challenges, so do your performance management, action planning, appraisal processes, support networks, assistance programme and reward & recognition provisions all act to help the speed of progression along the change transition curve? 

To stretch the analogy a bit further, we are the mechanics of organisational performance and we need to maintain and service the engine of organisational delivery through people.  What we engineer needs to transport different types of people along the road at ever increasing speed.  What can you do to make sure that the destination is clear and, as much as possible, people get there quickly - safe and sound?

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