Initiative Management – Putting Strategy Into Action

For this assignment you will redesign a job in which you have worked (past or present). Based on this module’s materials, generate ideas about how your job should change to reduce turnover. Consider job enrichment, the Job Characteristic Model, and Initiative Management as you redesign the job.

Identify the resources you will need to complete your plan. Whose approval do you need? 
Who is involved in the change?
What results to you expect from the job redesign? How and when do you expect to see these results?

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It’s a fact: setting goals brings success. Have you ever said to yourself, “I need a new _____.” Let’s say in this case it’s a new computer that you need. “I need a new computer.” Three months later and you might still be making do with the one you have. Now, consider this statement, “I need a new laptop that I can afford with at least 3-4 hours of battery life and a webcam before school starts in the fall.” Which statement will lead to you achieving the goal? If you said the second one, then you understand the benefits of Goal Setting Theory.

Persistence, Passion, Productivity
Setting and communicating a clear goal (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) increases persistence, passion, and productivity. These characteristics are crucial for turning an idea into reality.

Persistence:
When specific goals are set, people will prioritize those actions and behaviors that allow them to succeed. In other words, “what gets measured gets done.” Employees will work longer toward goals that will get them clear rewards. Timely deadlines lead to a faster pace than loose deadlines. SMART goals make people strive for success. To increase persistence, try the following:

Have employees make their goals public.
Set SMART goals to show trust in the ability of your employees.
Make the vision of the project, effort, and/or company clear to employees so they know how their goals impact the success of the organization.
Provide feedback to employees throughout the process as it allows them to adjust their efforts and keep working toward their goals.

Passion:
Where goals are absent, establishing SMART goals as a goal intervention can energize people. The American Pulpwood Association was trying to find ways to motivate independent loggers. These loggers, although paid on piece rate, had considerable room to increase their productivity, measured by the number of cords cut per employee. The results were impressive. Crews who were given high, yet realistic goals and a tally to measure their progress bragged to other workers and their families about their effectiveness. Productivity for these crews far outpaced the crews that were instructed to “do their best.”
Goal Setting Theory clearly worked in this case. The question is will it translate to a team of knowledge workers in a complex environment? The answer is yes, but with a few conditions.

Productivity:
There are some conditions for effective goal interventions that increase productivity.

The person must have the ability and knowledge to reach the goal. If not, the leader’s job is to make sure he/she gets the needed training and resources.
When people are learning a new job, industry, or skill, output goals should be replaced with learning goals. An example of this condition is to set a goal like, “discover five new ways to reach a new market with a current product.” This would be more effective than setting a goal of increasing market share for current products by 10%. The lesson here is that when learning is occurring, a learning goal prioritizes attention on problem-solving.
If a stretch goal is quite a way in the distance, set sub-goals for quick successes to keep people committed. Especially in times of change, sub-goals allow people to gauge their efforts against what is required of them to attain their goals.

What’s the “bottom line?” Ensure your people have what they need to succeed, and if there are obstacles in the way of their success, work together to find a way around them.
Adapted from the article:
Latham, G. (2004). The motivational benefits of goal-setting. Academy of Management Executive , 18(4), 126-129.

WHY JOB DESIGN?

In the current business economy where more and more work is being done globally, higher level skills like independence, problem-solving, creativity, experience, pursuit of long-term goals, and self-motivation are prized. With historical focus on efficiency and mass production, jobs were distilled to the barest routines. This focus on job design will not sustain businesses into the future.
Job enrichment, proposed originally by Herzberg, can bring back the focus on motivation through job design. How can jobs be redesigned for a richer and more motivating experience?

Personalize the job through skill variety (Brown, n.d.). Use job analysis to understand what the company needs from the position and the definition of success in that position. It should be interdependent with other positions and functions. Then find the right person.
Ensure the employee knows how his/her job is connected to company goals. Commitment and motivation comes from knowing what you do can make a difference to the community and the organization.
Give employees authority and balance it with accountability. Both these elements should be clearly defined and communicated so the employee builds confidence in his/her new role.
Deliver consistent feedback, both formal and informal. Doing so allows the employee to make adjustments as he/she learns the new position.
Reinforce the new responsibility. Set learning goals as well as productivity goals depending on the level of knowledge held by the employee in a variety of areas. (See lecture “Goal Setting as Motivation” for more information about learning goals.)
Develop plans for individual development. Career and life goal planning should never end, regardless of the interesting job your company has created.

References
Brown, R. (n.d.). Design jobs that motivate and develop people. Retrieved from http://www.media-associates.co.nz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=26:design-jobs-that-motivate-and-develop-people&catid=4:free&Itemid=21

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