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It’s the Environment

A close-up detailed image of a pile of blueberries, one of which is green rather than blue

J: Hi I’m Jackie.

C: Are you sure? I’m Courtney.

J: Did I sound unsure of myself?

C: Just a little.

J: Hey Courtney, today I want to talk about something I absolutely love and that is…

C: Your cats? Yes, wait a whole Shotcast dedicated to your cats?

J: I could do that. Actually what I want to talk about is learning. I am an educator at heart, it’s what I do for a lot of years. I have been working with teams inside the workplace on helping them to learn. And I love creating environments where people learn new things. I like to research and come up with ideas and things to share with people. Wrestle with those ideas in a classroom and watch people learn and grow, deepen their skills, and I know that it has a profound impact on how well they do their jobs and to the growth and development of an organization. And I absolutely love that, but here’s something though that I also know after all of that time educating people is all of that training all of that learning doesn’t fix an organization’s environment.

C: Yeah, the environment is actually what determines our performance, much more than our skills. And it’s kind of interesting that we think it’s a lot about the skills and it’s actually about the environment. Let me back up and tell you what environment is. Let’s think about a gardener okay. If you’re going to plant something, to build a beautiful garden you have to have quality soil. You have to have the right seeds. You have to have the right weather. You have to have the right climate so that it happens over and over again. And just like that in our teams it’s a leader’s responsibility to think about the environment that we want our people to perform in. And it’s a combination of our strategies. How we’re structured. What processes and tools we use. Do our people have the right skills is a part of the environment but it’s only one piece. And we’re also blending in how we hold people accountable to those expectations of the things we want to have happen. And so it really is if we want our teams to get better, if we want to fix our performance issues, we have to think about all of those things and I think what we tend to do is kind of take the easy way and say well nothing’s getting done, these people must be the problem.

J: That’s right there’s actually a statistic that shows if you ask a leader what they think is the root of a performance problem, 75 percent of the time they’re going to say it’s the employee. And the reverse is actually true, 75 percent of the time the root cause of your performance issues is the environment so your assignment for this week is to please not let my job be in vain. I want you to take a look at the issues that you are experiencing in your culture in your organization and take a hard look at those. And I want you to decide how much of that is really due to factors in the environment, so that you can get busy fixing those. So all of that education that happens in the classroom comes back out into the wild and really takes root.

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