More About “HOW” to Generate Universal Benefits

Previously I posted, Fantastic Book: “How” to Generate Universal Benefits to provide my initial thoughts on Dov Siedman’s book, “How: Why HOW You Do Anything Means Everything”.  I strongly recommend his book. They also have published their 2016 HOW Report where their findings indicate that using the HOW methods outlined in the book help organizations outperform by out-behaving. In other words, their “HOW” makes the difference.

Their results suggest better behaviors result from a focus on what “should” be done, rather than what “can” be done.  In other words, from my perspective these findings suggest, if we work towards generating comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions…everyone and everything benefits.

As we all know, we usually end up managing what we measure.  With this understanding LRN has developed ways to measure  traditionally intangible items, such as values, they predicted would relate to top performing organizations.  In keeping with the belief we manage what we measure, they chose to measure these items to bring a deliberate focus to HOW organizations do things.  They then used findings from these measures to determine which HOWs are best.

I had concerns that this may be bias findings but also believe they used good methods to nullify their bias. They compared organizations using previously existing measures of what was top performance.  Using these previously determined markers, they then found out which ways were best.  This concern however must be kept in mind as the findings are reviewed.

They report that their research categorized organizations based on over 16,000 responses received from 17 countries.  I encourage you to learn more about the work at LRN than what is in this brief post.

They categorized organizations as Self-Governing, Informed Acquiescence and Blind Obedience, defined below:

  • Self-Governing: Purpose-inspired, values-based organizations that are led with moral authority and operate with a set of core principles and social imperatives. Employees are inspired by a desire for significance and encouraged to act as leaders regardless of role. Such organizations are focused on the long-term legacy and sustainable performance.
  • Informed Acquiescence – Rules based, process driven organizations that operate through hierarchy, policy and 20th Century “good management” practices. Employees are motivated by performance based rewards and are expected to fulfill expectations of their roles. Long-term goals are identified but are often set aside in favor or short-term success.
  • Blind Obedience – Power based, task driven organizations that operate thorough command and control based principles and policing and which place little emphasis on building enduring relationships among colleagues with customers or within society. Employees are coerced to act as they are told under the threat of punishment or adverse consequences. Such organizations focus on short term goals 

Their findings indicated that those categorized as Self-Governing Organizations performed best. High performance was defined as growth in market share, levels of customer satisfaction, innovation, and greater employee engagement.  Something most would agree are signs of high performance. Their results indicated that Self-Governing Organizations performed at a high level 97% of the time while Informed Acquiescence Organizations performed at a high level 80% of the time and Blind Obedience Organizations performed at a high level only 36% of the time.  Their findings also suggest these findings hold world-wide.

Interestingly, they suggest that organizations need inspired employees more than engaged employees to be high performing.  They explain that  fully “inspired” employees are more important than engagement because Engagement is superficial, contingent, and transactional, which means it has a short, not long term determinant.  Further they explain inspired employees are a better predictor of performance and measurements of employee engagement are the wrong metric.  Even so, they report employees in Self-Governing Organizations are more engaged. This seems like a contradiction, what do you think?

They suggest fully inspired employees are a better predictor of performance because these employees are Authentically Dedicated, Deeply Accountable and Fully Responsible, as described below:

  • Authentically Dedicated – proud of their organization or how it acts in the world and therefore self-driven
  • Deeply Accountable – seizing opportunity, seeing obligations 
  • Fully Responsible – leaning in, stretching themselves and helping others

For me this means, using the Paneugenesis model, these are the precursors and the next question is how do we optimize the process so inspired employees are the by-product.  From their research they indicate that Self-Governing Organizations generate inspired employee’s through the use of a courageous, compassionate, and a creative Human Operating System (HOS).  Further they explain a key to having an HOS is its long-term focus with morality at its core. They then conclude that it is this that inspires people to take part in the journey.

A Human Operating System = governance that eschews short-term, commercial interests in favor of responsibility to society, long-term goals, and measures of how business should be done.

A Human Operating System requires Trust, Character,  and Behaviors, as described below and these factors provide helpful a framework or maps and guideposts for the journey.

Trust is the catalyst that enhances performance and binds people together by shaping the way they relate to each other as it helps employee’s embrace vulnerability.

Character is the aggregate of employees beliefs, attitudes and actions. Character is a function of Values, Significance and Consciousness:

  • Values: The deepest beliefs the guide and inspire how we relate to and treat others based on shared principles (not interests) that sustain human relationships (e.g. respect, truth, humility, and integrity)
  • Significance: Pursuing a purpose-inspired mission, having a positive impact on the world, doing the right thing, and emphasizing long term over short-term success
  • Consciousness: Mindfulness and concern for others and the world; acting with empathy, compassion and caring and embracing our interdependence 

Behavior: is defined by trust which inspires the presence of these five key enabling behaviors:

  • Taking Risks: Exploring new ideas or methods – and being willing to fall along the way – to advance the organization and grow personally 
  • Celebrating: Recognizing and praising others for doing the right thing, and for their character, behaviors, accomplishments, and efforts to make the organization better
  • Collaborating: Supporting, coaching, and partnering with others while being open to help and ideas and, if necessary, compromise.
  • Sharing Information: Communicating transparently, negating in dialogue, sharing the truth (even when it’s difficult), and making job, organizational performance, and other information broadly and readily available.
  • Speaking Out: Giving honest feedback, challenging majority opinions, and calling out misconduct or actions inconsistent with the organization’s values

Taken together, their findings suggest these are some of the things they identified to help establish Self-Governing Organizations. These types of organizations are desired because they yield the highest performance.  Next week I will share their findings about how to optimize the process of leadership that their findings indicated was necessary to establish Self-Governing Organizations.  

For me, these organizations are also desirable because they appear to work toward generating comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits! From my perspective, LRN’s information about “HOW” was and is fascinating and enlightening, please share your thoughts.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Contact me at:

2 thoughts on “More About “HOW” to Generate Universal Benefits

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s