You need to have critters in the office!

Critical HRD in Adult Education… not the bugs but another kind of critters. These are critical thinking creatures in your organisation. Critters, as Critical Management Systems (CMS) specialists fondly call themselves, seek to expose, understand, and change the underlying causes of a phenomenon—a training organisation’s processes, an organisational orientation programme, a performance metric scale, standards and quality measurements, etc. If you were unaware of what they were doing…

You may think of them as troublemakers trying to rattle the cages you’ve neatly placed and ensured compliance from everyone.

You may think of them as naysayers who would not let go of their beliefs.

You may be disconcerted with their efforts thinking that they are undermining your authority.

You may think they should be fired… ergo silenced … and hope that none other is infected by their viral thoughts and water cooler speeches.

You may be wrong. You may actually have needed them after all.

The graphic here shows a CMS research Jeffrey and I did recently which we’ll be presenting at the Adult Education Research Conference in Halifax in June. Organisations need critical thinkers. These are not the complainers, the whiners, or the loud ones, who have no concrete solutions to anything but have a problem with everything. These are just plain challenging employees that all HRD personnel and leaders have been trained well to handle.

Critters are a different breed of employees. They are well educated, have interdisciplinary expertise, well informed of the processes, know the overall and overarching reasoning behind organisational shifts whether by gut due to decades of experience or by pure Nonaka-like ba! [that insight that we all want to engage our employees in]. So you may think these individuals can be overbearing or even a bit of a smart-aleck but as leaders, that should not prevent listening beyond the noise. Sans jealousy of a critters ability to connect chaotic systems into a cohesive whole, one will hear the real voices, the insights, the value-add that leaders need to ensure the organisation they represent sustain their competitive edge. You will see that the critters actually have a passion for their work and definitely own their seats.

The next time you hear someone say something that sounds out of the ordinary, maybe its time to practice differentiating between someone’s need to complicate or conciliate.

Comment period is now closed.