When long term goals are set people are able to lay out a
plan to work toward the goals with a strategy to overcome all
obstacles and barriers. But many times a leader within an
organization will hit the first obstacle and quickly re-question
the preset goals – often changing either the goal or the
pathway there. Although obviously any poorly thought-out or
executable goals need to be carefully considered in the light
of a major or moderate failure, they need to be either quickly
changed or they need to be assured.
The manager that constantly changes directions for their
department is known as a “vibrator”. The change in direction
typically happens just when people think they know the
goals, boundaries, or rules. A vibrator’s employees quickly
become disconnected, reducing productivity.
Think of playing a card game, such as Crazy Eights. You
have been playing your high cards saving your eights until
near the end of the hand. You know if you can get rid of all
your cards except the 8s you will be invincible. However, just
as you play your last non-8 the dealer changes the rules,
making 2s the wild card. Suddenly your entire strategy
changes and you have to start over.
At a training session in a Detroit-area GM facility this
exercise was done. Participants in the session started
playing a game of Crazy Eights with two important caveats:
they could not talk and one player at each table had been
given a different set of rules.
The group quickly figured things were not going well. Then
they vibrated. Some tried to play by the new rules but
thought the old rules were better. Some refused to change
their ways, instead they clung to the old rules and fully
expected others would see the old rules were better. Others
just gave up.
Vibration is bad for an organization and vibrators, although
well-intentioned, are undermining their organization.
Use this term for developing skills in these areas:
A Bizerm™ is a new business term combining two
descriptive words into a single word or phrase whose
definition is often only known by those using it. To
see more terminology in the workplace, click here.
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