September 19th, 2022 | From our CEO
I was told by a clever person that everything you need to know about people, you know when you have reached third grade.
You know the school yard bullies, you know the queen bee dynamics, you know how people group together with like minded people, and how the outsiders are pushed to the periphery. You also know intuitively that these dynamics can be interrupted and challenged, if a new person arrives (Just think about Sandy from Grease! – R.I.P. Olivia Newton-John), or if one of the popular kids moves away… or graduates.
School yard dynamics are hard to alter. I have three kids – 14, 17 and 21 years old. With all three teachers and parents have separately and jointly – and on a continuous basis – tried to create a positive school experience by combating some of the not-so-nice consequences. All kinds of creative interventions have been employed to fulfill the objective. Succeeding is hard though!
Personally, I believe micro-interventions on a daily or weekly basis are a much better tool, than a school trip every three years. What works best is, if the kids take responsibility – facilitated by an outsider that they respect.
So how does this relate to your workplace? A lot!
The clever person I mentioned before also shared that as from third grade our knowledge about people diminishes. As wee get educated in seeing, analyzing, and categorizing people, we become increasingly biased, and it blinds us.
What We Know in 3rd Grade
If we could just pause our people awareness at the 3rd grade level, we would know that school yard dynamics are very present in our workplaces, and that these are often the core of our very fundamental problems. Let me share some examples.
- People connect to and group with people that are just like themselves. Also in workplaces.
- Some people have more influence than others (3% shape the perceptions of 90%, Source: Innovisor)
- Some people are not part of the informal networks (The number has grown from 5% to 19% throughout the pandemic, Source: Innovisor).
- New-joiners is an opportunity for a restart. At least, if facilitated well (See this case from a 125 people biotech company)
- If specific people leaves, it can tear the organization apart (Quitting is contagious. If a very likeable person leaves, then probability of others leaving increases by up to 500%, Source: Innovisor).
- If you want to change workplace dynamics, then a once-a-year intervention will not get the job done. Succesful change requires constant focus and must make sense to the people. Done with and done by beats done to.
In Innovisor, we help solving the school yard dynamics inside and across organizations. The first step is always the realization that workplaces are just people working with people.