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Research Backs Listen and Adapt organisations

Posted by Stephen Parry on Feb 24, 2016 1:16:37 AM

There are no shortage of companies looking to adopt (or adapt) new methods to increase productivity.

The problem is that good methods can only be developed and adopted by organizations with an appropropriate culture in place to create them in the first place.

Specifically, in order to get to a Sense and Respond organization, you need to first adopt a Listen and Adapt style of management.

Now I didn’t just wake up one morning with this thought in my head. I’ve worked with larger organisations for many years in a consulting capacity. And I’ve been privy to many different management styles. And what I’ve found over and over again through my own experience is that Listen and Adapt is the most effective way to transform an organization - far more effective than the traditional command and control structure.

So when I was presented with a means to quantitatively measure the difference in these two approaches, I jumped at the chance. This is where Dr. Gary Fisher enters the story.

Dr. Fisher was doing research and we were aware of each other’s work through a mutual client. So when he told me there was a way to test the effectiveness of Listen and Adapt management styles, I was intrigued.

His work in the psychology department at his university allowed him to study differing workplace behaviours, attitudes, perceptions and feelings when comparing traditional Command and Control management styles with my Listen and Adapt approach.

What he found was astounding. There was a detectable difference between the thinking, feelings and perceptions across all employee levels when they were introduced to the
philosophy and approach of Listen and Adapt.

It was objective validation of my own subjective views on how people responded to the Listen and Adapt methods I was teaching. Through my work I’d seen staff become much more collaborative and willing to contribute - and the research bore that out.

From here we were able to develop a psychological profile for typical Command and Control organisations. We were then able to show the differing psychological profile of parts of an organization that adopted a Listen and Adapt approach.

At about the same time I came across the work of U.S. psychologist Ben Schneider in the field of Work Climate. His research with millions of workers over his 30-year career showed a certain work psychological profile that was a de facto predictor of long-term profitability.

Unsurprisingly this profile / predictor was a lot closer to the Listen and Adapt methods I now advocate.

In the end, there are many competing theories for long term organisational growth. But when you can quantify the effectiveness of one approach over another using science and hard numbers, it’s a good indicator that you’re on the right path.

Topics: sense and respond, Customer Value Principles, listen and adapt