What are the three worst emotions in business? Disagreement, Disappointment, and demotivation. These are all on the “misfit’s wheel of misery.” This is the third in a four-part series about how to reset work, and avoid the wheel of misery.
Listen to the podcast here:
The Three Worst Emotions in Business: Part 3 of 4
Karla Nelson: Welcome to the People Catalyst Podcast, Allen Fahden.
Allen Fahden: Hello Karla.
Karla Nelson: Hello, good day my friend.
Allen Fahden: Good day to you too. It’s a beautiful day to be having high expectations about disappointment.
Karla Nelson: Woohoo, I love it. High expectations about disappointment.
Allen Fahden: Yeah.
Karla Nelson: Yes. We are in Part Three of a four part series, of the three worst emotions in business. We are discussing what we call the misfits’ wheel of misery. In the prior podcast, we talked about disagreement and conflict management. I always love that buzz term, right? Conflict management, it’s like no, we’re just disagreeing here.
Today, we’re going to be talking about disappointment. One of the buzz words that we hear all the time is performance management, right?
Allen Fahden: Yeah. We should make up a new buzz word, disappointment management, it’s the [crosstalk 00:01:31] of management.
Karla Nelson: At least you’re telling the truth.
Allen Fahden: Misery management.
Karla Nelson: There you go. You know the poll, 89% of people hate their job, not dislike, not meh, hate their job. Of course, we’re not saying that, that’s Gallup, which is absolutely our mission, to get people to enjoy what they do, by tapping into their core natures.
Allen Fahden: That’s not just a US figure, that is a worldwide figure. The number’s higher even worldwide, globally. Isn’t it great to know that there’s something the entire world can agree on.
Karla Nelson: Yeah, that they hate their job.
Allen Fahden: They hate their jobs. Okay everybody, we’re together in this.
Karla Nelson: Not your typical motivational podcast.
Allen Fahden: No, no, not by any means. The problem really of disappointment is a big one, when you talk about performance. Performance is the cornerstone of business. I mean if you don’t perform, you’ve got nothing, and you don’t have revenue. It’s hard to keep the door open without performance.
Even if you manage disagreements, which we talked about, so what? If you can’t implement ideas, the team doesn’t perform, this leads to more disappointment and a feeling of failure for everybody.
Karla Nelson: This is definitely not the motivational podcast. Disappointment.
Allen Fahden: Let’s feel some failure.
Karla Nelson: Yeah, failure stinks actually, right? Out of that, it really leads to demotivation, which we’re going to discuss in the next podcast. What we’re going to do is this similar mapping of a true story, and we’re going to create and utilize this story as the context around how disappointment creates these hurdles that we have to jump over, and these negative feelings in the workplace, and frankly, just in people’s lives. If 89% of people hate their job, you’re going to take that back home. If you’re feeling disappointed and feeling like a failure, because you or even it might be the entire team isn’t performing, that’s going to affect all the other areas of people’s lives.
We’re going to use this story of when we were hired by Mike, the CEO of a huge insurance company, which actually has been on the Fortune 500 list for over 24 years. Mike was a new CEO to this insurance company, and like most new CEOs, when they move from one position to the other position of CEO, when they’re recruited, he wanted to positively impact the business.
It’s kind of funny, it reminds me of that, remember those first days on the job, where you’re like, “Woohoo, I’m going to change the world.” Then you show up and you’re like, “Whoa, okay.” It might be a little different a couple months in, right? After you have these brand new ideas about making all these changes.
After being there less than a year, he still couldn’t get his agenda accomplished within the business.
Allen Fahden: He was really in disbelief at first. Like you say, he had high hopes moving into a new company. Didn’t know what couldn’t be done. He realized, after trying, what he perceived as everything he could do, that nothing, nothing was working, which of course left him extremely frustrated.
Karla Nelson: Yeah, I like how you said what he perceived, right? That he tried everything. I just love that, because we hear that so frequently in working with the Who Do Method.
What we did is we went in and after observing the team, we saw, which by the way is not indifferent from countless other companies and businesses, this is so more the norm than not. Again, which is our why, of changing the way work is done. After the team decided what they were going to do, they just randomly assigned tasks to whoever was available. It wasn’t what somebody excelled at or what their strengths were. Often, they gave team members an entire part of the project, rather than creatively and effectively putting these teams together within the project.
Allen Fahden: Yeah. It’s funny because that statistically turned out to be the number one criteria for team selection. You’d think it was because strengths and talents, experience, skills and knowledge, no. Not one team’s criteria is success. Criteria for team selection is who’s available. Really? Really? This is it, and we expect things are going to go well? I don’t think so.
Karla Nelson: Yeah, that reminds me of you always give something you want done to somebody who’s a busy person. Think of the opposite of that.
Allen Fahden: Yeah, right, exactly. Let’s give it to the parked cars.
The key to getting things done is to assign each task or phase of the task to the appropriate person. Well, who’s available is not even close to beginning to get you there.
Karla Nelson: Yeah, no kidding.
Let’s talk about what happens and the disappointment that occurs, from assigning the tasks to the wrong core nature of work. What we’re going to do here is I’ll introduce some of the tasks, because my goodness, they’re absolutely countless, when you’re trying to meet an objective. We’re on a limited time. We could go on, and on, and on here, but we’re going to talk about the tasks that we asked of Mike’s team at the insurance company. Based off of their core nature of work, how they were setting themselves up completely for disappointment and failure.
Of course, we’ll move through each of the individual core natures of work, but let’s go ahead and we’ll start with our shakers. I’m going to introduce it, and then Allen will start with the problem, and of course, we’ll do our banter back and forth, and probably go over time.
Allen Fahden: Of course.
Karla Nelson: Like we always do, because we have plenty to say about this. What’s the problem that often occurred when handing off tasks to the shakers?
Allen Fahden: This is a great one. Talk about epic potential for miscommunication. Somebody gives an assignment to a shaker, and oftentimes the shaker will look at that assignment. Now to the person who’s giving the assignment, “This is done. Accounts are closed, this is all agreed upon, “We’re ready to move. Here’s your job, do this.” The shaker’s looking at it saying, “Wow, this is an opportunity to impose my ideas in there. They say it’s a done deal, but it’s probably not a done deal. This way if I can overlay my ideas,” I’m the shaker, “On this assignment, then that’s a way for me to make it my own. I can change the assignment to fit the idea I have.
I’m going to assume, as the shaker, that it’s not set in stone, and I’m going to want to change minor or even major things the team has already agreed upon.
Karla Nelson: Yeah, love that, when the shaker goes …
Allen Fahden: You can imagine how well that’s going to turn out.
Karla Nelson: Yeah, when the shaker goes, “Yeah, sure. I could do that.” I always love that one. Don’t let the shaker be on their own.
Allen Fahden: Oh yeah.
Karla Nelson: Don’t let anyone be on their own, by the way, but still …
Allen Fahden: That’s one of the tenants of improv is, “I can do that. I can do anything.” Shakers are great improvisers.
By the time they’ve agreed maybe, verbally, that the idea’s set in stone, but by the time they get back to their desk, they’ve already forgotten that they’ve said it, that they’ve agreed to that.
Karla Nelson: No way, shakers forget something?
Allen Fahden: Yeah, I can’t imagine.
Karla Nelson: Can’t imagine that. On the other side, they’re brilliant. Their brilliance is that they do come up with ideas. It’s very natural for them to be able to problem solve and think of 75 things in five minutes, to be able to overcome the obstacle. When they go back to their desk, you leave them alone, and that’s with any core nature, and we’re going to talk about each of them.
The whole object of the exercise here is if you leave one core nature of work by itself, it’s going to run home to mommy.
Allen Fahden: That’s right. Punctuating what you just said, because I’m a shaker, and what I tell people is, I use this metaphor. I point at my head and I say, “Yeah, I’ve got six gigabytes of RAM, but no hard drive.”
PART 1 OF 3 ENDS [00:11:04]
Allen Fahden: Yeah I’ve got six gigabytes of ram but no hard drive, so I’m not going to remember a thing you said.
Karla Nelson: I actually heard you say that several times.
Allen Fahden: Yes.
Karla Nelson: The best one was when the banker was there and he went to go hand you his business card, the guy from Wells Fargo, he was like this is the last one, you’re like don’t give it to me, give it to her.
Allen Fahden: I’m just going to lose it.
Karla Nelson: So, in essence, the gist in giving a shaker the wrong work is that the shaker will not agree to it set … Well, may agree to it being set in stone, but wants to put their thumbprint … More than any other core nature of work they want it to be their idea. That is the run home to mommy for a shaker.
Allen Fahden: Yeah. Now, also understand this, that during any project there are parts of the work during implementation that will require coming up with ideas and creation too. So the creators just … The creation part of what the shaker does is not just about changing the idea to fit the ideas, but an opportunity is that as you go along there’s going to be more requirement for that.
Karla Nelson: Yeah. Always. There’s always in improvisation that’s happening as you’re implementing something. And, keep in mind, I think one of the things in regards to shakers is everybody expects them to be able to what they call do the real work, but truly the shakers their brilliance is to be able to have a lot of projects and do the idea part of the ideation, and the idea part of the implementation. And so, you can have them in several different projects, or even in the same project, but working with the team in the ideation and creation part, which can happen during implementation because we’re always improvising.
Allen Fahden: Right. And just know this that for implementation probably one of the core natures that is least wired to implement things, which usually means give me that I’ll get it done, being sequential instead of random and so forth, is the shaker. So, beware, buyer beware, when you give an assignment to a shaker beware of what they come back with, and if you don’t want to be disappointed you better not expect too much. Or, you can do it differently, and that’s really what we’re here to talk about.
Karla Nelson: I love that. That’s awesome. Beware with what they come back with, or they’ll just create something completely different, right?
Allen Fahden: Oh yeah.
Karla Nelson: Awesome. Okay.
Allen Fahden: Like what?
Karla Nelson: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve never experienced that Allen. All right, so let’s move on to the mover. So, in regards to the mover what’s the problem with handing off tasks to the mover?
Allen Fahden: Yeah. So, it’s a wonderful thing because the mover’s core nature is to get it done, get it done, get it done. But there’s a pathology that goes in extremes with that, and you’ve got to be ware of it. That is the mover will run off and push to get it done, and leave a pile of dead bodies in their path of course. And in their mind it just needs to get it done. And, they take the executive decision by themselves with no regard for the team. And so, often times when you give a job delivery you got to do a little backtracking.
Karla Nelson: Yeah. Oh really, I hadn’t noticed. Especially early on in my career. If I would have known this early on in my career I probably would have ticked off a lot less people. So you’re just doing what you do, right?
Allen Fahden: Sure.
Karla Nelson: And so, because of the mover’s focus is so much on the doing, remember the early adopter, we need it, it needs to get done, and they’re doers, that things often too don’t get planned out well enough because they’re just moving to the doing so quickly. And then the time spent … And they just don’t spend enough time on what could go wrong. So, again, here we’re moving through the law of innovations and you’ve got your mover, which is right there in the early majority. And so, what happens is a lot of project managers just tend to be movers because that’s our core nature is to get everybody doing what needs to be done to hit the goal. And, often then work has to be redone. And so, oh I can’t stand rework, and so many times I said that, especially early on in my career, and I was like I hate rework, and I was like but I’m the fault of the rework. It wastes everything. It’s wasting the team’s time, money, resources, and the worst part is it wastes the energy and the motivation, and it definitely leaves people disappointed when that happens.
Allen Fahden: Definitely. Definitely that. It’s always been ironic to me that most project software, project management software programs, doesn’t come with revision part of it, but they happen all the time. Most people spend a tremendous amount of time … You know the old phrase is there’s always time to do it over, but never time to do it right.
Karla Nelson: Okay. I haven’t heard that one before but that was darn funny. I’ve got to remember that. As a mover I probably found it extra funny by the way.
Allen Fahden: Yeah. I can imagine.
Karla Nelson: Yeah. And so, essentially the run home to mommy … And by the way, I have got to check out some software … because I’ve never really looked. I use project management software, you’re right. Revisions happen the entire time. I would almost venture to say a revision can happen daily when you’re trying to get something done. It might be marketing, it might be intellectual property, it might be legal, it might be a million different things, but the whole revision thing definitely doesn’t play a part in the software aspect of it. So, but essentially the run home to mommy for the mover really is they end up being the bull in the China shop. I’ve got to get this done, and nobody’s going to stand in my way.
Allen Fahden: And the mantra for the bull in that China shop is I’d rather ask for forgiveness than ask for permission.
Karla Nelson: Yeah. Do you know what though, it’s so crazy Allen because I think that’s why the mover out of all core nature’s of work has the easier time, because people think oh, action. Well, activity doesn’t equal productivity, but they still tend to get more things done because they access all the other people. Just in their core nature. It’s the core nature of who they are. And I think they get a little … When you think about the little clichés that happen, oh, mover, shaker, it’s like you’re a mover and a shaker, yeah but what about the provers and the makers, we need them too. And then you think about oh, like what you just said, I would rather ask forgiveness than permission, but you know what, those are both early adopter focus. Especially mover focused. And so, it’s almost like society values one over the other and it makes it easier for that core nature of work overall. But what happens is it doesn’t allow the team to function equally because we need everybody. We need every single one, just not at the same time.
Allen Fahden: Well, and look what happens what we’re showing and when people function alone. You take something too far and you get out of your zone of core nature and your abilities, and there’s always a pathology that happens or run home to mommy. And there’s a better way, and we’ll get to that. But each one of us has this thing when we’re working alone we shouldn’t be doing that. But we should be working together, staying in our lanes, and handing off at the right time. And we’ll get there.
Karla Nelson: Yeah. You got it. Okay. So, let’s move on to the provers. So when you hand the job off to a prover what do we have to watch out for?
Allen Fahden: Well, and it’s interesting too because in one way the prover and the shaker even though they tend to be adversaries, they’re both exactly the same in one way, and they’re random and not sequential. So they struggle, they jump around and try to move something ahead is really really tough.
Karla Nelson: Oh my gosh, welcome to my world on both sides of me.
Allen Fahden: Oh yeah. You’re right in the middle. And, there’s an old saying that you’ve seen this probably in offices, but it’s perfect for the prover. It says when you’re up to your ass in alligators it’s hard to remember that your original objective was the drain the swamp. And the reason they feel that way is that they see the alligators that nobody else sees. They see what’s going to go wrong, they can look underneath the water and see that the swamp has got some treacherous, gigantic alligators, and movers and shakers are just merrily on their way, and all they see is beautiful water, and a couple of lily pads, oh look, there’s a frog over there, oh look at those nice flowers. Well let’s be on our way now. No, there are alligators in there. And so-
Karla Nelson: I love that.
Allen Fahden: It’s very, very difficult.
Karla Nelson: Yeah. So, basically the run home to mommy is because of that, and I love that you said they’re not sequential because as a mover one of the biggest challenges with provers is they have no sense of priority. Because they look as your example there was is that alligators is … Which alligator do I tackle first? And so they actually feel overwhelmed so they’re not sequential, they’re just like alligator, alligator, alligator, alligator. And it’s like wait, you’re tackling number 10 alligator. Let’s tackle number one that takes care of 70% of the problem, but they … And then if anybody interrupts them they’ll just start tackling the alligator. They’re just do, do, do, there’s no sense of priority associated with them.
Allen Fahden: Yeah. A great one. And so that’s why it’s frustrating sometimes to give an assignment to a prover because when they get an assignment, they initially … it’s a little like the shaker, they reinterpret the assignment because they look at it and say, “Oh this just isn’t going to work. Come on.” And they come back then with … instead of saying, “Hey, here’s the specific problems, let’s solve them,” they’ll accept the assignment, they’ll go away. And then they’ll come back with a completion, oftentimes of a completely different assignment. It’s like-
Karla Nelson: A safer assignment.
Allen Fahden: … what, yes. You know, you were going to do X and you came back with Y. “Oh yeah, I just did. I looked at X and I didn’t really think it was working. I mean Y is much better. I really like that because it’s got a couple of things in it that I really like.”
Karla Nelson: I love it. Oh my gosh, I could talk on this one forever, it’s … all of them to be quite honest with you. Just observing this over the years just makes me laugh so hard. Because it’s just so much the norm, and people, and we’re messy. And we’re not even getting into the secondary core natures of work. That even makes it more complicated. But okay, so let’s move on to the maker. So when you give them an assignment, what how do they-
Allen Fahden: You’re going to be disappointed in a completely different way. Isn’t this fun?
Karla Nelson: Woo hoo.
Allen Fahden: And remember, we’re focusing now, none of these people are wrong or bad, but we all have ways in a run home to mommy and things like that, where we shouldn’t be involved in certain kinds of work, or we shouldn’t be getting an assignment in a certain kind of a way. And so we put the right people in the right place doing the right thing at a time. All these problems pretty much go away. But let’s talk about the … since we’ve talked about the pathology of everybody else, how about the maker? When you give a maker an assignment, now the maker is like the mover, they’re sequential but they’re a later adopter. So what happens is, they tend to be extremely literal and want a lot more detail. So you say, “Okay, we’ve agreed now Charlie, that we’re going to make it blue.”
Charlie says, “Blue? Wait a second, what shade of blue?” “Well, I don’t know.” “Well I need to know.” “Well gosh, how are we going to agree on that?” “Well let me show you some PMS numbers and you can tell me exactly which of these 684 shades of blue we are going to do. Oh by the way, should I do it with a brush or a spray gun?” I don’t know if the rules on spray guns or such, there are EPA rules on those, you know, the OSHA, the over spray could be hard to … bad for me for breathing,” and your so tired-
Karla Nelson: Okay, you’re making me hurt.
Allen Fahden: … that you don’t even want to give them the assignment.
Karla Nelson: By the way that’s the only red light relationship that movers have, right? Because it’s like, “Oh,” the doers.
Allen Fahden: Oh yeah, they want to obey the rules, but they want to know what the rules are, and want to know in so much detail. By the time you’ve told them what the rules are, if you could even do that, then you don’t ever want to do the project ever.
Karla Nelson: Yeah. And because of that. I mean, if they don’t have every detail. What I’ve seen makers do, is they sit and spin. And they will sit there at their desk for four hours, on something that could have taken 10 minutes just by bringing in the individual, which is typically the prover, and having the prover go to the shaker. But they could bring in someone else. But they are so adamant at obeying the rules and making it right, which is a great quality that they-
Allen Fahden: It’s a virtue as well as a vice.
Karla Nelson: Mm-hmm. Exactly, yep, yep.
Allen Fahden: But one extreme, now here’s a person who, think of it in this way, think of it as altitude. Whereas the shaker is flying at 30,000 feet, you ever look out the window on an airplane? You don’t see a lot of detail on the ground. You don’t see the cars on the freeway, you just see there may be some roads down there, or whatever. But the maker flies at 50 feet above the ground. They see every detail. They can tell you who’s watering their lawn, and who’s not, and approximately how many blades of grass they have.
Karla Nelson: Oh my gosh, it’s so true. And again, we need everyone, we just don’t need them at the same time. And then when there are tasks, assigning them at the right time, to the right person, and also I think the moral of the story here is, ensuring that you’re tapping into everyone’s core nature of work, not sitting in isolation with one task per individual or whatever their core nature of work is. And so all of these mis-assigned tasks result in negative emotions, gridlock, and ultimately complete disappointment, right?
Allen Fahden: Yep.
Karla Nelson: So there’s basically one of three things when you mis-assign tasks. First, you’re going to get procrastination. And that’s because they just stink at it so bad, it’s the thing on your checklist that you never get to. Either because you hate it, or you suck at it, which is probably one and the same.
Allen Fahden: And by the way, that’s the way to know, another way to know what your strengths are. Look at your procrastination pile. That’s the opposite of your strengths.
Karla Nelson: Yeah. One of my coaches used to say, “If it sits on your to do list longer than two days, you shouldn’t be doing it.”
Allen Fahden: Mm-hmm.
Karla Nelson: And then … or they just don’t do it, right? They just actually don’t do it or change it. Because don’t doing it and changing it are actually kind of the similar thing. Of, they do something, but it’s not what was asked, or gridlocked and pushed back. So basically none of those things end up in ultimately implementation of whatever the task was. In this regard, insurance company, new CEO, had objectives, and after a year couldn’t get anything done.
Allen Fahden: Yep. And so this isn’t something new. I mean, we see it all the time. And I’m a big fan of Deming, who was the guy who invented Quality. And he said, “If you were going to describe management in one word, what would that word be?” And surprisingly he came up with all kinds of words. And he said, “Prediction.” It’s the ability to predict what is going to happen. And when you start looking at people’s core natures, and you give them an assignment, all of a sudden you could be a star manager in the sense of you are going to be able to-
Karla Nelson: You know what they’re going to do.
Allen Fahden: … predict.
Karla Nelson: Yeah, you know how they’re going to respond.
Allen Fahden: Because then you’re going to know three things as you pay attention to this body of knowledge we talk about in the People’s Catalysts. Number one, there’s the three things that you need to know about a person is one, wiring. How are they wired? How are they wired to think? How are they wired to do? And that’s what we’ve been talking about today especially. Second is, how do they fit with other people to get there? So that everybody’s got a natural inbox, and a natural outbox and you’ve got to match these, so that the right outbox giving the assignment or passing off the piece of the work, passes off to the right inbox. So the person who’s going to do the next step, the next phase of the project, is going to be the right person to hand off to. And then finally is a wiring fit.
Third one, sequence. What is the sequence? Ideally, we will sequence people’s strengths so that it exactly fits the process we’re trying to work with. And the key to doing that is making sure that the inboxes and outboxes fit together. So that’s an ideal sequence that fits the people together based on the way that their wiring is.
Karla Nelson: Yeah. Fit and sequence says it all. So, you know, I know you have to focus on, okay, how people are wired, how they fit together, and then what sequence to put them in. So is there anything else you’d like to add before we close this podcast Allen?
Allen Fahden: Well, just that I hope we’ve been as disappointing as we possibly can.
Karla Nelson: Oh, no kidding, it’s hard to make it a happy podcast when you’re talking about disappointment. But it’s true, disappointment and failure is too common, 90% of startups fail in the first five years. And I guarantee you, if they had the right team, that would not happen. You have to have everyone, you just don’t need them at the same time. But if you are missing one person, it’s bad, two, disaster, right?
Allen Fahden: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Karla Nelson: You have to have all of these core natures of work in order to be successful, or you burn out. So, please join us for the wrap up of this series, The Three Worst Emotions in Business, where we’re going to discuss the outcome of disagreement and disappointment, which is de-motivation.
Allen Fahden: And you may be able to tune in to some of the original de-motivational posters as part of the podcast.
Karla Nelson: All right.
Allen Fahden: Lucky you, lucky you.
Karla Nelson: Yes, because we have the creator of the de-motivational poster that will be the cohost.
Allen Fahden: Yes, and I will be hear to disappoint every one of you again.
Karla Nelson: Thanks so much for listening.
Allen Fahden: Thank you.