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Leaders Dont Motivate - They Create the Conditions for Self-Motivation

Do you have a safety culture, or do you have

safety programs? On the surface this question
may appear easy to answer, but the distinction
between programs and culture is deceiving.
While many organizations believe that
programs equate to culture, this inaccuracy can
lead to serious consequences.
Its like thinking the tip of an iceberg is the
iceberg. We know from the story of the Titanic
that this distinction can be the difference
between thriving and tragedy.
Safety programs are analogous to the tip of the iceberg, and organizational culture is what
lies below the water linethe heart of the iceberg. A positive safety culture can only exist
within an organizational culture in which employees are positively engaged with their
business, manager or supervisor, and daily work.
Employee Engagement
It is not uncommon for safety consultants to focus their efforts on assisting organizations in
developing and installing safety programs, but few consultants ask the key question, How
engaged is your workforce? Although a focus on safety can have a positive impact upon an
organizations overall culture, it is not enough. If there remains a high percentage of
disengaged employees, any programs put in place will fail to reach their full potential.
The Conference Board, a global, independent business membership and research
organization working in the public interest since 1916, developed a deKinition for
engagement that blends the key elements into one concise statement: [A] heightened
emotional and intellectual connection that an employee has for his/her job, organization,
manager or coworkers that, in turn, inKluences him/her to apply additional discretionary
effort to his/her work.
Case Study: How One Company Transformed Its Culture and Safety Record
Imagine you are the manager of a chemical manufacturing plant and have Kinally received
the results of your organizations employee engagement survey. Holding your breath, you
look for the numberthe number that speaks volumes about your employees ability to
work together and tackle the issues affecting safety and productivity. You hope your
intuition is wrong, but then your eyes and the number meet: more than 60% of your
workforce is detached or disengaged.
In late 2007 a chemical manufacturing plant with 285 employees had to face this reality.
Management and staff were not on the same path, and their quality, safety, and productivity

Leaders Dont Motivate - They Create the Conditions for Self-Motivation

problems were the result of this divide. Results in hand, the plant manager addressed his
team. We cannot go on this way. If we are to achieve sustainable success, we must
transform our culture. Weve tried all the Band-Aids; applying one more is not the answer.
Fueled by the organizations disappointing survey resultsthe majority of its workforce
detachedthe management team embarked on a number of culture initiatives including:

Administered the 6 Seconds Organizational Vital Signs Survey (OVS)

Interviews with Key External Stakeholder
Individual Employee Interviews
Employee Focus Groups
Review of Kinancial and production performance results, HR reports, and metrics from
previous engagement surveys and safety performance data.

They understood that if they wanted to transform their companys culture, they needed to
move from the tip of the iceberg to below the water line and into the heart of the iceberg.
They needed to determine what factors were perpetuating the current culture of
disengagement so they could transition to increased engagement and performance.
Findings from the OVS culture assessment process conKirmed that the low morale was
indeed negatively affecting the plants ability to perform as efKiciently as employees,
stakeholders, and managers believed was achievable. One employee, echoing the feelings of
many of his coworkers and managers, stated, We have tremendous possibilities and
potential, but we cant seem to Kind a way to make it all come together. Another added, We
need to stop playing games and throwing safety program after safety program up against
the wall hoping they will stick.
The climate and culture factors that the OVS assessed were:
Alignment: To what extent are people involved in their organizations stated
mission and its execution? Do they feel a sense of belonging within the organization?
Accountability: Do people in the organization see themselves and others following
through on commitments? Are they motivated, and do they
take responsibility for their choices and the outcomes?
Adaptability: Are people seeking change? Are they ready to adapt? Are they Klexible
problem-solvers, open to innovation?
Collaboration: How well do people interact with one another and share information?
Do they solve problems together?
Leadership: What level of commitment do employees have to their leaders? How do
they perceive their leaders and leadership throughout the organization? Are people
capable, competent, and worth following?

Leaders Dont Motivate - They Create the Conditions for Self-Motivation

Trust: Do people have a sense of faith and belief in the organization and its
leaders? Can people rely on the integrity of their coworkers? Do they have
conKidence in others abilities and intentions?
Leaders Take Action: Walking the Talk
The plant leaders were thoroughly debriefed on the Kindings of the OVS results and
afterward came to the consensus that the plants ability to thrive was dependent upon
building a culture or engagement. They decided to concentrate their efforts on the
following factors:
Step One: Why
Diagnosing, comprehending, and developing a plan to transition from one culture to
another culture is not a process to be taken lightlyit is a journey, and all journeys
encounter challenges (or icebergs). Therefore, leaders must make an informed
commitment to the process. Meaning they
must have a compelling why that resonates
with the organization. Without a compelling
purpose and a realistic understanding of the
work and commitment required, the resolve
and persistence required by employees to
stay the course will dissolve.
The leadership team undertook a new plant
initiative: To work toward alignment with
employees and their values in determining
the compelling why that would propel the
company forward. The result was the
creation of the following Vision statement:
Our vision is to create and sustain a great
place to work where ...
All employees can work safely and have pride
in their jobs.
Employees are treated with respect.
Employees care about and trust one another.
Leaders demonstrate open and honest communication.
Everyone is accountable for his or her actions.

Diagram 1 illustrates the model and process

that guided Step 1 and the entire culture
transition process.

Leaders Dont Motivate - They Create the Conditions for Self-Motivation

Step Two: What
Once the Vision statement was approved and shared throughout the plant, managers and
employees embarked on a series of dialogue sessions. Using the Culture Transformation
Model, they identiKied which concerns and issues were contributing to the We-They divide
between management and employees.
The concerns were prioritized and plans of action were developed. Step Two included and
emphasized leaders addressing the culture factors of accountability (developing a plan) and
collaboration (dialogue sessions with employees).
Step Three: How
How the management team implemented the actions identiKied in Step Two was a critical
aspect of the culture transformation process. This process, it should be said, was not
allowed to be based upon theories or models rooted in the belief that employees lack self-
motivation and therefore require extrinsic motivation tools (e.g., carrots and sticks) to
motivate change.
In fact, employees repeatedly explained that their disengagement or detachment issues
stemmed from a perception that management was distancing itself from the group by:

Not keeping employees informed of company activities, Kinancial and otherwise
Not allowing employees input into decisions, yet holding them accountable for the results
Showing no respect, recognition, or appreciation
Not empowering employees to make positive changes
Showing a visible lack of faith and trust in employees commitment and abilities
Rewarding employees with meaningless tokens, which they found insulting

Culture change, at its root, is intimately tied to individual change. Unless mangers are
willing to commit to personal change, the organizations culture will remain resistant and
Self-Determination Theory (SDT)
The management team decided to use SDT as its boilerplate model for increased employee
After an in-depth review of the SDT model, managers could see that motivation was the key
to employee engagement. In addition, they began to understand the difference between
viewing motivation from a quantity perspective and how to recognize it from a quality

Leaders Dont Motivate - They Create the Conditions for Self-Motivation

SDT consists of three core psychological needs:
Autonomy: Concerns the experience of acting with a sense of volition, choice, and self-
Relatedness, or interpersonal connectedness: The experience of having satisfying, social,
and supportive relationships
Competence: The sense and feeling of competence at what one does. This also involves the
belief that one has the ability to inKluence important outcomes.
These three needs have been found to correspond with behavioral engagement, which is
directly linked to higher levels of commitment, performance, persistence, initiative, and
creativity. By framing, linking, and designing employee interactions and work procedures
within the framework of SDTs needs and the organizations values and vision, the
managers were able to demonstrate commitment and inKluence the attitudes, behavior, and
motivation of their employees.
Sample questions that guided the interactions of managers and employees:

Are we permitting and encouraging employee autonomy?

Will this approach improve and build our relationships with employees, or distance us?
Are we recognizing, developing, and empowering our employees competencies?
Are our interactions guided by the values of our vision?

Culture Change Results

The graph (Detached Employees) displays the
level of disengagement as assessed by employee
surveys from 2006 through 2012. More than
60% of employees were described as detached
in 2006. As the culture initiative was
implemented, the rate of detached employees
began to consistently decrease, hitting a low of
5% in the 2012 survey.

Engagement and Quality

The graph (Quality Results Summary) indicates
that as employee engagement improved, employee
performance and quality dramatically improved also. The number of batches meeting
speciKications increased, which a positive impact on increasing customer satisfaction and in
reducing production costs.

Leaders Dont Motivate - They Create the Conditions for Self-Motivation

Engagement and Safety

The following graph clearly demonstrates the link between employee engagement and
safety performance. It shows a
consistent decline in OSHA
recordables with only minor
Kluctuations. This trend
replicates the positive
progression in employee
engagement. As the changes in
the culture took hold and more
employees transitioned to
feelings of engagement, the
number of OSHA recordables
also declined.
Another signiKicant indicator of
employee engagements positive impact on safety is the signiKicant increase of reported
near-misses the organization is experiencing as a result of the changes. In a culture in
which employees mistrust the motivations of management, and in which punitive actions
are used as a means of reinforcement and motivation, near-miss reporting tends to be
viewed as a got-cha by employees.





The last graph shows that as the culture factors that created detachment changed, more
employees became engaged, their trust in management increased, and therefore their
willingness to report near-misses also increased.





































Leaders Dont Motivate - They Create the Conditions for Self-Motivation

Changing organizational culture is a difKicult and complex task. Most organizations prefer to
stay on the tip of the iceberg and attempt to spark change by installing programs or
motivating with carrots and sticks.
These superKicial approaches are
doomed unless leaders are willing to
explore the heart of the iceberg
because this is where true drivers of
culture exist. Here lies an
interlocking set of goals, roles,
processes, values, communication
practices, attitudes, assumptions,
and beliefs, all of which will resist
half-hearted attempts of change.










These interlocking elements form

your employees beliefs about their
work, relationships and the organization, and these elements will work tirelessly to
prevent or subvert any attempt at long-term change. This is why single-Kix changessuch
as the introduction of teams, or Lean, or safety programsmay appear to brieKly make
progress, but eventually the interlocking elements of the organizational culture take over
and any attempts at change are inexorably squashed.
Despite the difKiculty and complications inherent in organizational culture change, the
results and rewards, as this organization is experiencing, are signiKicant, far-reaching, and
sustainable. Leaders who are willing to take their organization into the heart of the iceberg
can create the conditions where all members of the
organization can Kind the motivation to positively participate in
changing their culture to be in alignment with their

Awaking, Inspiring and Empowering Human Potential

Tom Wojick, President