How many places has your inertia bit you in the productivity butt?
Public Enemy #1 of increased effectiveness is inertia–yours and your team’s.
One place where I see it all the time is in the hiring process.
The first step in hiring the right person for the job is determining the competencies you are seeking, which can be unearthed through well-defined eligibility criteria and suitability criteria. The inertia comes from “I don’t have time to prepare the eligibility/job description.”
That is the first inertia hurdle. Eligibility criteria need to be measurable. Skills, education, certifications are examples of eligibility. If you just throw the next available person at a job, that pretty much assures a 33% chance of their being the right person for the job. It is frightening how often that happens. “Let’s get cousin Bob in here, he just lost his job.” would be another example of inertia.
Here’s the second hurdle. In addition to eligibility, determining suitability would be important — do they WANT to do the work that is required? That is a VERY different question than CAN they do the work. And the problem with getting the wrong person doing a job they hate is that their inertia will probably eventually overcome them too — or alternatively they will get the job done then go home and kick the dog, have a beer and scream at the kids. An ugly energy exchange occurs when people are not suitable. Job satisfaction and/or performance will be affected.
Hiring practices is just one area where inertia defeats effectiveness. Here is a bigger question, one that makes the inertia conversation worth having.
How does one’s inertia affect our trusting of one another?
Can we trust ourselves to get past our own inertia? Can we trust others not to do the lazy thing? If we look at our own history, the answer is a blatant NO!
Speaking for myself, I have an inertia conversation deep in my psyche that sounds something like, “I don’t want to and you can’t make me!” It wants to run my life, and it used to, even though the inner dialog was, in my earlier years, undistinguished as such a driver of my behavior.
Perversely, that inertia conversation is the downside paradoxical edge of my being very self-motivated. In Harrison Assessment paradoxes, self-motivated is made up of three traits: “Takes Initiative,” “Wants a Challenge,” and “Enthusiasm for my own Goals.” On a 0 to 10 scale, I have a 10 on the combination of those traits that together comprise “Self Motivation.”
The paradoxical flip of being very self-motivated was — until relatively recently — my very LOW scores on “Relaxed while at work” and “Stress Management.”
When the heat is on sometimes I want to run for the hills, or pull the covers over my head, or find a diversion — ANYTHING but address the challenge head-on. When I give in to that urge, inertia has won.
What is your inertia? Where does it affect your results? Is it distinguished and runs you anyway? Or do you not know?
You have choices. Continue to tolerate your inertia, or pat yourself on the back if you have mastered your inertia, because effectiveness is only available when, given a choice, you choose powerful action, at which point people will know they can trust you to get the job done.
If you’d like access to your behavioral preferences for work, let me know and I can help you distinguish that disabling conversation that YOU are having that causes you inertia. It takes :30 plus an hour conversation, and it gives you access to your powerful and effective you. Contact me here.
Pamela Stambaugh, seasoned advisor to executives and their teams, offers assessments (Harrison Assessments and others), coaching, and team facilitation addressing 3 P’s: Performance, Productivity and People.