Never Mind the Bosses, Robin RydeIn order for leaders to better view and scrutinize their organizations, Ryde introduces the SPEED model:
*If a stranger visited a company, he would be able to discern a high-deference organization by space symbols, such as certain offices that are larger and have more window space, light, and additional seating areas.
*Time is a symbol that is deemed to be of greater value to the deferred to than to the deferrers. As a result, they arrive late, cancel meetings at the last minute, and have limited face time with deferrers.
*Sound symbols are expressed in a noticeably quieter environment for the deferred to. Also, if the deferred to and the deferrers begin to speak at the same time, it is understood that the deferrers should be silent and allow the deferred to individuals to speak first.
*Comfort and style symbols include more comfortable office chairs, more luxurious travel accommodations, and a higher quality of business cards, letterheads, and stationery.
*Titles are pervasive and include such terms as sir, madam, chief, senior, and leader. Deferrer titles include junior, trainee, support staff, and assistant.
*Dress and personal effects include well-tailored suits, fashionable designer attire, designer watches and other jewelry, and leather-bound notebooks.
*Language used by deferrers is excessively polite. For example, they would use the phrase, “If I could trouble you for a moment, Mr. Davenport,” while on the other hand the deferred to might say, “I suggest you reflect on this, Gail, and come back when you are clearer.”
2. Psychological contracts are implicit deals between organizations and the workforce. The contracts detail the degree of openness in dialogue and discussion, the extent that responsibility should be taken on instead of passed on, the level of demand for innovation and creativity, and the expectation of agility and adaptiveness. They also include the value given to ethical behavior, the degree of empowerment that should be granted or assumed, the level of expectation in terms of contribution and performance, and the extent to which corporate citizenry and integration are required.
3. Executive powers in deference organizations are characterized by centralized authority, autocratic leadership, and a paternalistic management style. In addition, these organizations have many hierarchical levels and a large number of supervisory staff, accept that power has its privileges, and have an expectation of inequality and power differences. In contrast, organizations that have done a good job of engaging workers and instilling the right values and capabilities to enable their people to take responsibility are characterized by decentralized authority, consultative or participative management styles, a small proportion of supervisory staff, questioning of authority, and rights consciousness.
4. Engagement delivers a higher level of productivity, a greater discretionary effort, and stronger talent retention. It also results in lower levels of absenteeism, better customer service, and an increase in company loyalty and advocacy. Employers often prefer engagement that is informal, in person, frequent, two-way, open, and authentic. However, many leaders engage formally, remotely, and infrequently. Ryde challenges leaders and managers to imagine that their workforces are as smart as their leaders, that they care about the successes of their organizations, and that they have a lot of ideas for improving their organizations.
5. Discourse habits are strongly influenced by the behaviors of leaders and managers. Destroying a culture of deference involves changing thought processes. For example, deficit thinking focuses on faults, shortcomings, and weaknesses, whereas strength-based thinking focuses on what has been working well and how these strengths can be magnified. Rational thinking focuses on the logical components to a problem, whereas feeling thinking is an alternative that embraces feelings, emotions, and intuition. Other alternative styles include exit thinking, which focuses on how to achieve a desired outcome; insight thinking, which applies expert knowledge, real experience, and insight; and 360-degree thinking, which seeks out and explores multiple options.
A culture of deference can create strangleholds and roadblocks in an organization. However, by recognizing the symptoms of deference, companies can focus on creating more inclusive, informal, and worker-centric organizations.