“Most businesses and industries are built for solving puzzles, not mysteries,” writes Bill Carmody, who is CEO of Trepoint and an Inc. Columnist.
Carmody’s suggestion comes from listening and speaking to Malcolm Gladwell about how there are very few clearly defined puzzles that workers need to solve today. Instead, most organizations are tasked with solving mysteries.
Gladwell’s definition of a puzzle, in a business context, is when there is a relatively straight forward problem that needs to be solved. In contrast, a mystery has much more ambiguity. It’s more dynamic and complex, and often, there’s more data to sift through to be able to solve it.
Solving a mystery also requires a different way of thinking than solving a puzzle. Gladwell argues that as more organizations deal with information overload, a certain discipline is required to start successfully solving mysteries.
More Data & More Mysteries
Gladwell says one of the biggest mistakes a company can make is when it treats all of its data equally. “[Solving mysteries requires] us to be disciplined about the kind of data that we think is important, and the kind of data that we think is not as useful,” he says.
Even though it’s intuitive to treat all data points equally, the real trick today is knowing what data to pay attention to, and what data is noise that our organizations should ignore.
“We have to start ranking data in terms of its value,” says Gladwell. “The intuitive human move is to treat all data points as roughly equal. The hardest thing to do is to be more calibrated in how we assess the importance of bits [of data].”
More Effective Data
Ensuring that the right data is filtered, and that the right data is being put to use goes a long way in driving meaningful change, engagement, and outcomes for an organization. Just as more organizations are being tasked with solving mysteries rather than puzzles today, a parallel exists with the art and science of employee engagement.
There are two sides to the engagement coin: There is the science side, which is the gathering of data using the principles of scientific research. And then there is the art side, a more creative application of people management that embraces the “gray area.” Together, the art and science of engagement help companies shape talent management more effectively.
Some organizations have found success in applying the tested and proven science of employee engagement (analogous to solving a puzzle), but where many need more bandwidth and attention is the art of employee engagement (analogous to solving a mystery). This requires the ability to harness the more intangible, or the more mysterious, factors that are unique to an organization to drive engagement and outcomes. Culture and leadership style, for example, fall under the “art of engagement” side.
Take a fast-growing company that needs to hire new talent that can perform and be a fit for the company’s culture. Ideally, art and science come together to build an engagement initiative with new and existing employees in the company. The mystery, or the art, of engagement would help foster the approach and style of communication used with employees. It would also involve knowing where to start with the initiative, and then how to act on findings in a way that is aligned with the company mission and vision. On the other hand, the science of engagement would guide how the feedback was gathered, what would be getting measured, and how opportunities would be spotted.
Data points and science can tell an organization a great deal, but because change moves in all directions, the art of engagement allows a company to cut through the noise while staying flexible as conditions change.
Merging Art & Science: Taking the Guesswork Out of Employee Feedback
Talmetrix takes the guesswork and the mystery out of employee feedback. Given that every workforce is dynamic and always changing, engagement projects have to coincide with ever-changing goals, skills, expectations, abilities, levels of motivation and passion. Human beings are not static—and neither are organizations, which is why flexibility is key throughout your engagement initiative.
Stop Guessing, Start Knowing
Talmetrix is re-inventing how talent-focused organizations and their employees work together to fuel a culture of high performance. Through our cloud platform, we simplify the gathering of employee intelligence and existing organizational data to deliver unique workforce insights in real-time to improve business outcomes.
Contact us to learn more about our solutions advisory team that can help you merge the art and science of engagement at your organization.
Comments are closed.