Moving from knowledge to action

Managers and their organizational units often fail to make full use of their potential. In many cases, people are engaged in tasks that do not suit them or for which they are not made. But how do you find out who fits which job profile – and vice versa? Roman P. Büchler, with his FORAN GMBH in St. Gallen, has taken up the cause of developing organizations and individuals.

Roman Büchler, why is it important for me as a managing director that my employees are motivated in their work?
Motivated employees identify with the company, they think in an entrepreneurial way and thus advance themselves and the company. They also transfer this positive energy to customers.

So motivated employees are better employees?
Yes – in that they are more open to change, they are willing to go the extra mile and thus produce even better results, and they actively ensure a good groove in the team. In general, they represent the company as an attractive employer and a serious service provider in their environment.

And what do I do if I notice that someone’s motivation is lacking?
As a supervisor, I seek out the conversation, listen and try to determine the cause. The key is to approach the issue with an open mind. I focus on the three to five most important issues for a pragmatic solution, which we work out together and continually review.

How do you proceed with a situation analysis in concrete terms?
First, a commitment to the change process and goals are established with the explorer and the client. The basis for our consulting is then the “Reiss Motivation Profile Methodology”: This personality test describes which motives are drives for our actions. In a discussion with the explorer, we identify his motivators and their effects and outline his self-image.

And what do you do if you see that someone is not at all suited to the job?
First, we try to find a suitable position for him within the company. If that is not possible, we accompany him or her to a new placement. To do this, we use our network in human resources.

Now you analyze not only individuals, but also entire teams or business units. What do you expect from this?
Mutual understanding of the needs and behavior of individual team members – that brings clarity and relaxation in dealing with each other. The analysis also makes it possible to assign the tasks that need to be handled in the team to the appropriate people. This increases the performance of the team, as everyone does what they can and want to do best.

And what is the benefit for me as an entrepreneur?
Hidden potentials become visible and can be used in a targeted manner. Problems are handled transparently and solved pragmatically, resulting in a better culture of error and trust. Managers can once again concentrate on their core tasks – thanks to teams and employees acting on their own responsibility.

What is the main reason why someone cannot develop their full potential in a company?
Companies sometimes recruit too quickly, making too many compromises and not waiting for the right person. Then there’s everyday work: tasks, working environment or conditions are not geared to people. A change in leadership as well as changes in tasks or team constellations can also have an impact.

And what are the main problems in organizations?
Not least the skills and aptitude of managers – the Peter Principle often applies here: people are promoted until they have reached the highest level of incompetence. In addition, administrative over-organization is increasingly displacing value creation. In many cases, there is also a lack of consistency between processes, organization and employees – people are becoming less important.

So how do you go about identifying the true potential?
We reflect on the most important findings from the situation analysis with the people involved, jointly define goals and milestones, and derive concrete measures for the people and the organization.

And what does implementation look like?
In recurring work meetings over a period of at least three months, the impact of the jointly developed measures is reviewed, adjusted and further checkpoints are defined. The goal is to ensure collective action in accordance with the defined objectives.

Does this make you a kind of mixture of career and management consultants?
We see ourselves more as active companions of companies and people. We focus on helping our clients move from knowledge to action. Career and management consultants tend to focus on crystallizing knowledge.

It is commonly believed that money is the most powerful motivator for employees. Is that true?
No. Money is still a hygiene factor, but it is becoming increasingly less important for the new generations. We know from studies and experience that monetary motivation is only effective in the short term.self-determination and a degree of freedom are becoming more important. Part-time employment and flexible working are more important today.

What are the strongest motivators?
That depends on the person and their environment. According to current studies, an exciting, stress-free job, a good team and working atmosphere, as well as interesting work content and a work-life balance that allows more time for leisure and personal needs are more important than money.

And if you take a look into the future: What’s in store?
Employees increasingly want to work more independently of time and location – a challenge for classic organizational and management structures. As a result of digitalization, the human component and empathetic leadership behavior are often neglected. The younger generation then feels that they are not taken seriously and often changes jobs.

So what do you recommend to an entrepreneur who wants his employees and his teams to be optimally motivated and composed?
From our practice, these are the courage to openly address and tackle even unpleasant topics, the willingness to allow support from outside, the will to move from theoretical knowledge to practical action, and the generosity to give more importance and time to the development of people and organizations.