When you feel your employees are becoming jaded by improvement initiatives

What’s possible:

You can achieve a Buy-in and a depth of commitment from even the most jaded, most cynical, most project shy people  that is beyond anything you’ve experienced before, in support of the TOC way of working – even though what they’ll do is contrarian to anything they’ve experienced previously.


Almost EVERY implementation in nearly 30 years had involved working with people who, managers tell us, are “old dogs that can’t learn new tricks.”

Or, they’re “project shy — seen just one too many new management initiatives take their time away from their jobs, and go nowhere.”

Or managers tell us they are just plain cynical, or jaded, having been through so many management initiatives that all follow the same path.

And … they’re not exaggerating. The people often ARE exactly as described and they have every right to be, based on history. You’d be astonished (or maybe not) how many employees quietly tell us, once they’ve learned they can trust us, “I come in that door in the morning and the first thing I do is hang up my brains. Because that’s the only way to deal with the crap they throw at us and go home sane.”

We typically don’t just get “Buy-in” from these people; we get enthusiastic buy-in.

More, we often get a degree of commitment so strong that some of these “jaded, cynical” people will stand up to management and tell them that if they DON’T do what we’ve just introduced them to, then “we’re out of here.” Managers have told us multiple times that ‘the people” have come to them and said, “These guys are the first light we’ve seen at the end of the tunnel that isn’t a train coming.”

How come?
Because EVERY initiative these folks have been exposed to for their entire lives with an organization has typically been based around rules that make no sense. Even though they seem to, to managers, at the time.

There’s a very interesting analysis we can show you.

It’s based on cause-effect.

There are 3 “Root Causes.”

  • One is, “People’s intuition is very strong.”
  • Another is, “Job satisfaction is very important.”
  • A third is, “The rules in most organizations are wrong.”

When you logically work out the cause-effect outcomes of these 3 “root causes” in combination … they make people’s behaviour look awful. Finger-pointing. Resignation. Defensiveness and CYA. Politics.

It explains the “hang my brains up” attitude. And a lot more.

It would be easy to conclude that this is a problem workforce.

In fact, these are symptoms that indicate that the people are inherently good; and that they care.

Managers should LOVE that their people have strong intuition and are desperate for job satisfaction.

But the one thing that has to change is, “The rules are wrong.”

That’s what we do: we help managers recognize Policy Constraints that cripple any improvement efforts. Then we help them re-write the rules so that EVERYONE in EVERY LEVEL of EVERY FUNCTION in EVERY DEPARTMENT is aligned towards a company’s Goals and doing EXACTLY the right things every day to move the company closer to those Goals.

It starts with “Belief Systems” that owe their existence to the way things were more than 100 years ago.

Then it moves to the Policies and Procedures that have grown out of those Belief Systems, unchallenged, over decades. Written and unwritten, formal and informal.

Then it moves to the Measurements that have grown out of those Policies and Procedures. Measurements that COMPEL Behaviors that hurt performance and KILL Behaviors that help performance.

Then, when we align Belief Systems, Policies, Procedures and Measurements so that everyone is working cohesively towards the same Goals, the behaviors we all want just fall naturally out of the system. (With a bit of shoring-up, initially, as people keep waiting for the other shoe to fall.)

The end result is an emotional and logical buy-in that is so strong that people will risk their jobs to keep the new rules in place when they see management wandering away from the straight-and-narrow back to their old ways.