zondag 13 januari 2013

How to turn a ministry into a happy and performant organisation?

Late 2009, I joined the FPS Social Security. This Belgian ministry initiated one of the most impressive change management turnarounds into a civil agency. No dedicated desk, no mandatory time registry, focus on achievement and not on process, people and and common sense come first. Target was put or to maintain all kpi’s in green – how deep the change process was. And to be a sexy employer. More than 3 years later, the organization is multi-awards-winning organisation that giving freedom and responsibility to people leads to performance and happiness. 
No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it. ((H.E. Luccock)
What’s our miracle recipe?
Of course, it takes time. And energy. And investment. And sponsorship. But most of all, it’s a daily business to take care of a deep culture change. It’s not about a turnaround plan. It’s all about building trust. It’s a process that takes time and that requires a strong and unfailing leadership by example. Because no error will be tolerated. Because every exception can ruin your project.
In the case of my organisation, apart from the huge and terrific effort of communication and people involvement, the decentralization of people management support through formal and informal channels, I can summarize this change into 5 pillars, 5 “dondoo’s”.

None of these dondoo’s are a rule as such. None of these dondoo’s are a miracle receipe that can be cut and pasted into any organization. It’s just about gathering plenty of behaviors, small actions which all together lead to another way of leading a company. And leading it to the success.
Some photos speak countless words - Photo from Aj Lewis' Facebook page
Inspiring leadership - Don't manage. Love
The 5 dondoo’s
-Don’t manage. Love.
Treat people equally, with respect, as they are friends of yours. Build commitments in the organisation’s interest, not in department or individual’s interest. Share resources. Share information with intellectual integrity. Build KPI if they make sense. Don’t use figures to serve your own purpose. Look for positive KPIs. Lead by example. Teams success prevails. As a leader, take ALWAYS on your responsibility …
-Don’t work. Have fun.
Organise at least 3 team events/year with fun, even without budget (let your team be creative!!!). Make boring tasks fun and attractive. Share and celebrate success. Avoid hierarchical attitude. Promote team work. Promote cross departmental projects. Smile. Joke. Be aware you a human being and thus you can feel and express emotions. Introduce 2.0 into your organization…
-Don’t (just) think. Think sustainability.
Launch CSR projects and undertake concrete actions, because you believe into CSR, not because you want to use it as a marketing tool. Move from Human Resources to Human Heritage. Build a “HR” activity to serve the organisation, not to keep oneself busy. Find local partnership for food, for supplies (0 km approach). be paperless. Develop hybrid car policy. Buy fair trade drinks. Save energy (and all means worth it).
-Don’t motivate. Trust.
Trust people as people can trust you. Build an environment where people feel at home, as a part of a family. Communicate with transparence. Trust… in advance. Grive regular formal & informal feedback, but always in a constructive way. Listen to people. Ban and penalize political games. No tolerance for blackmailing, harassment. Tell always the truth.
-Don’t complain. Innovate.
Avoid any kind of bureaucracy. Think positive : every crisis creates opportunities! Make decisions and processes easy. Build bridges beteween teams, organizations, private & public. Reduce meeting and meeting time. Reduce paper. Don’t put topics more than 3 times on meeting agenda. Delegate. Delegate solving issues.
You see. It’s not that complicated. I’m pretty sure you have plenty of example to add to this list. And I’d love to know them. Just share them with us!

Spread happiness around you because you're worth it!
Spread optimism around you because optimism opens opportunities!

Laurence Vanhee
Chief Happiness Officer 

HR Manager of the Year, Belgium 2012
Author of Happy RH (La Charte, 2013), Happy HR (Die Keure, NL, Feb 2013)

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