A week ago, my dog George had a problem standing up; he did not want to walk. His appetite was voracious as always, and when we went to buy a roasted chicken, he jumped out of the car and walked right to the chicken-stand, but he was in pain and feeling “down-in-the-mouth”, his bones creaking like….my bones!
Since George is 14 years old, I was convinced that time was coming for him to “cash in his chips”; I took him to the vet expecting the worst.
Dr Yuval was in the lobby when I walked in. George was dragging himself behind me. Yuval says- “George has a backache; wait a week and it will improve”. No tests; no nothing. He observed. He did not ask me – and of course, George didn’t say a word. Lo and behold-he was right. George is getting better.
A skilled eye is very important in veterinary medicine because animals don’t speak. A skilled eye is important in OD because human’s do speak…at times they sprout a lot of nonsense because of fear of reprisal, a tough job market, suspicion or in the case of senior managers, towing the party line.
A consultant would be wise to constantly observe, and not only listen to the spoken word. Not only at the beginning of a project. Rather, all the time.
Here are a few things that I have observed-and in brackets, what the spoken words were, when relevant.
- Excessive gating procedures to speak to senior managers. (Rick provides useful input)
- Lovely lobbies, and cramped quarters for customer support people (Customer service needs to be digitalized)
- Executive parking places (our senior staff come early and work like dogs)
- People playing solitaire on their pc’s (we have a very tough workload)
- People smiling at each other at meetings
- Dirty toilets (we are interesting in improving wellbeing)
- Everyone texting, all the time (we have a problem of communication)
- Inappropriate clothing (clients treated rudely)
- Differential size of office space (favouring the Finance Dept)
- Similar ethnic background of FSU+ family names in one department (the electricians are not transparent)
Always pay attention to the contrast between what you see and what you hear.
I thought George was dying. George kept his mouth shut. Yuval saw it all.
“Not a word was spoken. The Churchbells were all broken.” (Don McLean, American Pie.)
+FSU Former Soviet Union