WHAT APPEARS TO BE
It’s budget time again. A friend explained that it is a regular practice for him to forecast their productivity “far on the low side. Then, we show our bosses our numbers and they come back and high-ball the forecast. We’ve got to low-ball ours to keep their high-ball from getting too high.”
How good is your poker face?
WHAT MIGHT BE
One of the most sensitive subjects is the topic of “goals”. In nearly all sessions, participants complain that the stretch objectives they are given create disengagement and even acts of sabotage.
One participant said, “Why do they ask us for our estimates when the only number they really care about is what Wall Street wants?”
In his book, The Great Game of Business, Jack Stack says this is like asking people “to put the numbers together that will serve as a club used to hit them over the head with in the next year.”
Some organizations are training their employees to lie.
WHAT CAN BE
How much sense does it make to play poker with the company’s future?
Let’s end the poker game. Here’s what it comes down to: are we sharing full information with each other? Are people given the opportunity to see how the numbers were determined? Do they get an opportunity to see how their actions deliver numbers?
Are we telling each other the truth? If we’re not, if we’re competing against each other, how can we beat the competition?
Our observations reveal that most companies are hosting poker parties. By developing the habit of developing full, free, two-way information flow, your team can up the ante, kick the real competitors butt, and slide more chips to your corner of the table.
What is the difference between what “might be” and what “can be”? You decide.