06 Nov The Choreography of Business
When Movement is Improvement
Life has taught me — painfully, but fruitfully so — that disorder, disfunction and disease can develop when positive energy is decreased, removed or stagnates. This is true is terms of individual health and holistically as it relates to teams and organizational well-being. This condition can be manifested in various ways like mental or physical disabilities, disruptions, delays, downtime and corresponding damage control. Basically anything that disables or puts one at a disadvantage. Can you relate?
According to the American College of Sports Medicine:
“New guidance from exercise oncology experts recommend systematic use of an ‘exercise prescription’ by health care workers and fitness professionals in designing and delivering exercise programs that aim to lower the risk of developing certain cancers and best meet the needs, preferences and abilities of people with cancer.”
If exercise is to be prescribed like medicine, which I fully support, then it seems to reason that the typical 8-10 hours of daily work life should be an ideal place for people to get healthier, not sicker, right? However, according to recent data from Gallup, only 30 percent of all employees in the U.S. are engaged. Translation, about 70% of all employees are underperforming, underutilized and under-developing. One might conclude that the hidden — or lost — potential of these employees amounts to a significantly high cost of business that should be allocated as waste and charged to Management. The root cause of this problem can be traced to an individual’s work-readiness, or the type of interaction and interdependence they experience inside an organization as well as one’s private world.
I tried and tested all of Geoffrey James’ 8 Stupidest Managerial Fads — in depth — during my 31 years in corporate America, which is when the majority of them were conceived. I found the article rich with realistic managerial folly and vice, but it also failed to address the human spirit in terms of our belief that change can make things better. Joel Best asserted in his book Flavor of the Month: ‘Societies that don’t embrace new ideas don’t have fads. Our belief in improvement makes us willing to try new things, some of which turn out to be lasting changes, and some of which are fads.’
I’m always intrigued by business owners and leaders who display a zealous — and sometimes hostile — defense of the status quo. Like the Marines, only the few and the proud companies — about 10% — courageously pursue new ideas that ultimately spawn lasting change for the better. The rest of them fizzle out, fold or — in their unawareness — accept mediocrity. Change is strange. Like one’s mission or passion, change will eventually find you.
The Choreography of Business
I’m sure most of us would agree that positive interaction fuels positive action, which translates to higher individual, team and organizational productivity. Choreography is defined as the art of composing dances, planning and arranging the movements, steps and patterns of dancers. That’s how business should work. It’s built-in creativity by design. Work is, or should be, the theater of business — a place that provides education and entertainment value to maximize learning, performance and high-value outcomes. Employees — those who do the work — should be the stars. Great executives chart the course, navigate the ship and serve as expert facilitators, rather than celebrities, for those who steer the boat and do the work.
When an organization clarifies and choreographs the daily execution of work activity, self-discipline, productivity and creativity flourish. It’s the result of communicating what’s important, defining good dance (work) steps and setting clear expectations with the goal of achieving flawless execution.
Break dancing is a form of planned and regulated exercise that keeps and controls the motions of progress. Not only do the acrobatic motions build strength and stamina, but they also promote good heart and mind health. That’s a powerful prescription designed to prevent fatigue and premature breakdown.
Every business needs an organizational development strategy for creating a professional work environment where people consistently do the right things right because they are led and equipped to do so. It is similar to creative dance choreography where people are moving and stepping in various patterns within a system of notation always motivated and striving for perfection.
Is it time for you to help your team stop stepping on each other’s toes and create your own blockbuster of a business? It’s never too late for you to write the script.