Biyernes, Agosto 13, 2010

Zombies in the Workplace by Jolito Ortizo Padilla -Speech Delivered at Australia National University during the World Business and Economic Forum


A major threat may exist in your workplace... the peril of zombiesm. In organization around the world, zombies have infiltrated all levels of the labor ranks, carrying their messages of victimhood and pessimism, they infect the whole organization at an exponential rate. At this very moment your organization could suffer from lifeless humans. Zombies could be undermining the mission, vision, and the very future existence of your organization.

The good news is that Zombies-ism has a cure. Many zombies can be brought back to life; restored as contributing members of the organization. The challenge is that the cure requires each zombie to recognize the condition, desire restoration to the living, and self administer the therapy. The living can coach initial consciousness in the lifeless; however to sustain existence among the living, each zombie must discover his/her own meaning in life and remain awake to that purpose -especially in challenging times.

Have no doubt, however; urgent action is necessary now. Zombie-ism, left unchecked , will destroy your organization from the inside out. Leaders at every level must be persistent in rooting out zombies and demanding their redemption or elimination from the workforce. Furthermore, it is essential for the human resource unit to revamp the hiring process to avoid this terminal virus into the organization.

How to Recognize Zombies

Once you know the dangers zombies pose to the organization and their behavior patterns, they are fairly easy to identify. For too long, hiring and retaining for skills alone caused leaders to be inclined to the Zombie threat. Skills have their value, but having a living work force is indespensible.

You can recognize a zombie by two using primary methods: conversation and observation of behaviors. These methods expose the zombie because a lack of consciousness is the key sign and becomes obvious immediately when connecting with a zombie.

First, the zombie's lack of awareness is detected through conversation. When inquiring about a rationale for performing daily tasks, the zombies are in the organization, they respond,"There's nowhere else to go," " I have to work here," "My schooling dicatated this job," or " I've never though about that." The zombie doesn't have a life of meaning , so the connection to devoting life energy to an organization, doesn't even emerge as a need or way of operating. Instead, they often see themselves as a victim of the organization, acting out of something akin to bondage.

Observing zombies's behavior shows them basically doing what they are told, which often the minimum required to stay on the payroll. Going through the motions of daily work was once acceptable.Pyramids were built, castles constructed and the industrial revolution launched when employment merely physical behavior. As the spirit of creation and mental problem -solving attributes became a prerequisite for organizational success, however, the zombies's coma like stance was acceptable.

Some observed zombie behaviors include:
-Minimal connection to daily work, organizational purpose, or team mission.
-Blaming the organization for a host of personal ills.
-Broken relationships always cited as the reponsibility of the other person.
-Downward spiralling conversations that seek to engage others in a negative mind-set.
- Seeing every other organization as a more desirable place.
-Holding conspiracy theories.
-Lack of initiative with with prodding by leadership providing their primary motivation.

In his popular cult book, The Zombie survival Guide, Max Brooks points out that zombies prey on all living creatures. Zombies suck the life out of all living organisms and the organizational climate. Zombies feed not only human resources but also on any living idea, initiative, creation, or vibrant venture. After all, if the zombie is lifeless, why wouldn't everything with which it comes in contact also share the same fate?

How Organization Foster Zombie-sm

A view of labor throughout history helps us to understand how organizations have fostered zombies. When strong arms, legs, and backs were the main ingredients for high quality labor or performance; the mind and spirit were seen as liabilities.Although it was important to have some mental faculties, in particular the mental capabilities that addressed the job at hand, no additional intellect was required or wanted. Asking too many questions was a certain way for getting, into trouble. Employers wanted hard but little else. Too much initiative was seen as a threat to leadership in the power- centric hierararchy of the past, and some of these Neanderthal organizations still exist today.

The world has undergone radical change in the past 100 years, however -and at an ever accelerating rate of change. To survive these days,an organization must call on the human capacities of mind and spirit. The total quality revolution of the 1980's engaged the entire workforce in problem-solving and improvement activities. Far from being a fad, the quality tolls and methodologies employed have become standard affair including lean, Six Sigma, and system engineering.

The next transformation in organizational performance involved leveraging the entire work force in a spirit of creation to generate competitive advantage. Although creation complements problem-solving, these two mental capacities and manifestations are significantly different. Creation relies on bringing into being that which does not exist at the moment. This is not the same as fixing what already exists. Creating a vision, generating dialogue, challenging conventionsl wisdom, and white sheet innovating are al born out of creative mind-set , sourced by human spirit. without spirit, there is no creation.

After millenniums of "dumping down,' the work force organizational leaders now need to awaken each individual. This is even worse when you realize that some of these leaders are dead to change themselves, holding on until retirement or a better job. Their skills sets may lack leadership altogether; they maybe just managers.

To address the zombie problem, organizations must change. Deep rooted systems, with underlying principles that are wrong for today's work force are entrenched. Policies galore hold the old organization in place, but the needed transformation often is limited to a few wall posters displaying outdated platitudes. Indeed, the challenge is great.

The Living

Fortunately, there are a growing number of people in the workforce who are among the living, people who are living lives of meaning. They are connected with their life purposes. They see their creative spirit as producing an opportunity to contribute to a collective mission; working with other living beings to generate value in the world.

Observed behaviors of these individuals include:
- Seeing causality in their actions (and lack of action) in creating the existing workplace.
- Possesing a strong sense of personal purpose.
- Applying their effort and determination toward projects and initiatives aligned with their purposes.
- Using upward spiralling talk that engages others in seeing the potential in every situation.
- Having an abundance based mental stance.
- Being conscious of the connection between all sentient beings.
- Displaying tenacity and perseverance in the face of barriers.

How Best to Address Zombies

We have worked with organizations around the world providing direct leadeship, and in later years, consulting with leaders on transformational approaches. We have seen incredible spirit not only in the eyes and ccomplishments of others, but also those who are comatosed and anesthetized.

Look around your workplace. What do you see? Are you perplexed? Do you wonder why zombies become zombies? You need to understand that they chose to be lifeless. There doesn't seem to be any five- year- old zombies, so something clearly happened on the way to their present condition. Did the excitement of life become routine? We believe that when life's purpose and meaning aren't clear, people are at risk of zombie-sm.Some become the walking dead during high school others with the help of mind- numling substances (including television), and some after years on the job.

Regardless of how they become infected, these people choose to fall under the spell of zombie-ism, becomong unconscious. This is an important mental position to understand. if you think society, the schools, family, or organizations have put them ro sleep; you are mistaken and posibly infected yourslef. Whether an organization has a great or por spirit, each person always chooses his/her response. If this were not the case, the many stories of the living emerging from dead situations would not exist. We are creatures of choice, creatures that create our world.

Awaking a zombie can be dangerous. After years of existing as one of the walking dead, a sudden awakening can be disturbing. Anger may be the first response. These zombies have participated at an acceptable, although low, level of performance in the past. With low organizational expectations and little performance feedback they were left to their infections and allowed to infect others. so start awakening in measured steps without retreating.

Call the zombie to consciousness by asking questions, such as:
- Why did you choose to work here?
- Why have you remained at this job?
- what purpose does your participation in this organization serve?
- What is your life's purpose?

With each question, allow time for consideration. Plant the seed of consciousness nd allow them to germinate. Know that we were not bornto be zombies. many people will leave the zombie state when they reconsider the price of unconsciousness.

Along with using these questions to awaken zombies, the benchmark must be set higher on performance. Reconsider the relationship among the performance standards, the quality of the output, and the excellence you expect. Lose your tolerance for poor work, for inadequate office relationships, and for feeble excuses. Inferior perfromance is just that, deficient and unaccepatble. Once you make a stand, the ball begins to roll.

Your enlivened spirit will have a positive effect. Understand that your spirit may create initial anxiety, like a flaming torch to a zombie, but your spirit also has a power of its own. Do not hide your spirit under a basket to comfort zombie. Let your spirit's power shine.

Awakening the Organization

Awakening individual zombies is critical action the living can take. There is an opportunity to help the walking dead become alive to their on spirit, awakening their own being, and the organization can help. Key steps to awakening the organization are listed below:

- Review policy and procedures from the point of their original expectations. Are they written to allow or foster zombies?
- Stop zombies at the door. Hire for spirit as well as skills. Change the interview approach to assess spirited performance in the whole life of the applicant.
- Set a meaningful mission and course for the oranization. Raise the community vision to make a breakthrough , transformative products and /or services.
- Involve everyone in both the daily work and in creating the organization of tomorrow. Once they get energy from creating a community, their eyes will stay open.
- Demand that your extended organizational system has life.No longer accpet suppliers and subcontractors.
- Speak to your customers as if they are alive. Your target should not be zombies. The living are always a better customer market.

The conscious leader has a special role to play. First, establish the expectation that zombie-ism is no longer acceptable. Given a deeper understanding by the leader of what organization requires, performance attention focuses on the zombies. It is your right to expect people to think and be creative. Zombie leaders often point to organizational barriers and past practices, which discourage them from setting higher expectations and holding people accountable. That is exactly why leader is there- to move the system forward. Of course, every organization has issues on barriers. What is needed to rid the system of Zombies is for leadership to make a stand. Otherwise, upper leadership should review the infected brains of the leaders themselves.

Final Warnings and Word of Hope

Left unchecked, zombies will enroll others to join the legions of the dead at work. In addition to being counter-productive in the workplace (and geting paid for this destruction), they are not neutral in their impact on the workforce. Zombies welcome co-workers to join them in listless existence and victim mind-set. You may see them attacking the new employee group, picking off the weak ones. During extended breaks nd water cooler conversattions, zombies enlist these new seekers of the corporate culture into the hopeless of inaction. Zombies may even manifest a smile or an unauthentic welcome, only to draw close to the new employee into this web of death.

Additionally, organizations experiencing low competition or the absence of obvious threats often overlook their zombies. The "fat" in their systems hides the danger of zombies, lulling leaders into avoiding addresing apparent personnel problems. Whether they are public, for profits, or NGO's,all organizations can fail. If not addressed, zombie-ism wil infect, spread , and cause organizations to fail, especially when organizations are under the inevitable stress the transforming world delivers.

There is hope, however.Labelling zombies recognizes threats. Moving to awaken zombies has the immediate payoff of employing the skills initially promised in the hiring process and post employment training. From lifeless to life filled, the converted zombie can serve as a great influence on others and pave the way to organizational success.

Zobies in the Workplace









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