ASK YOUR CAREER COACH: Diagnosis And Relapses

Q. I am the CEO of a 500-strong company that used to earn an eight-figure income five years ago. At the time I and my partners founded the company, we were entering a market that you could call a “blue ocean.” There were only two other players then. With good funding and a lot of smarts, we quickly became the company of choice for our market on the second year of our operations. Today, however, the scenario is different. Our revenues have dipped considerably and our expenses have overtaken our sales. I think between our phenomenal success then and our dismal performance now, we must have made a lot of bad choices, recruiting “bad eggs” is one of them. How can I turn this around?

A. Well, as an HR person, I would hesitate to give you advice on how to run your company. However, what I can offer is an organizational diagnostic framework that you can use to analyze why your company is on a downturn. There are many organizational diagnostic models which have been developed by OD researchers and practitioners over the decades. However, I recommend a framework that, while developed way back in 1976, is popular with Organization Development practitioners because it is easy to use.

I am referring to Marvin Weisbord’s Six-Box Model. The model focuses on six areas or “boxes.” These are:

1) Purposes which refer to the organization’s mission and goals.

2) Structure which is the way in which the organization is organized.

3) Relationships which refer to the ways in which people and units interact.

4) Rewards which are the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards people associate with their work.

5) Leadership

6) Helping mechanisms which are the planning, controlling, budgeting, and information systems that serve to meet organizational goals. A survey form can be developed to extract the current state of your affairs in each of these areas.

Then, the survey can be administered to all your employees or to a representative sample. From the results of the diagnostic survey, you can then focus on the specific area which may the “culprit” in your company’s decline.

As for your “bad eggs,” all I can say is (without sounding insensitive to the “eggs”) is that you should just let them go before the rest of your organization also turns “bad.

Q. I am a recovering workaholic. Just last year, I underwent a major operation that put a stop to my hectic schedule as a freelance consultant. Yes, I used to be a workaholic and often would spend 20 hours a day 7 days a week whether at the office or home working. What aggravates the matter is that I am a control freak and cannot seem to delegate routine tasks to someone else, a hired “help” for instance. I also crave for the tension and attention of being someone of use to an organization. What can I do to prevent a relapse?

A. Let me very brutal—you are a slave to your work and loving it! Considering that you have just undergone—and survived—a major operation, your desire to get back to your freaky work life is nothing short of suicide. You are probably the exception to the saying that “No one ever laid on their deathbed and wished they had spent more time at work.

I have a friend who had recently undergone heart surgery. He was a workaholic of the highest caliber. If you had known him prior to surgery, he probably would have been your “idol.” But now, when the urge to work strikes him—and by force of habit, this happens everyday—he stops and reminds himself that he has new set of priorities and that is his health, his happiness and his home.

What can you do to prevent a relapse? When you find yourself going over the edge, just simply remember that you can only live your life once, so live it well and live it fully.

Author: Regina Galang Reyes. First published in Management Systems, March 2010 issue.

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Founding Editor, People at Work, Business, Phiippine Daily Inquirer

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