Outside of the Box Solutions, Inc.

Think · Plan · Take Action · Grow

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If your organization is in need of an innovative, creative consulting firm with an eye for detail, look no farther. At Outside of the Box Solutions, Inc. our small team of Creativity Consultants are dedicated to equipping your business with the necessary skills to be effective in today’s competitive market. We  determine organizational problems and identify innovative opportunities to elevate your business and management strategies (Edwards, P. & Edwards, S., 2005).

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Be Open

Management theorist Peter Senge  (1990) suggest that “developing a learning organization requires a major “shift of mind” toward a more participative and holistic notion of effective organization,” (Eisenberg, Goodall, & Trethewey, 2014, p. 109). Our  consultants develop innovative solutions to create a culture that promotes dialogue, openness, and an all-inclusive work environment. Senge’s notion of self-reflection  is, “all members share a personal commitment to learning,” (Eisenberg, et al., 2014, p. 109). Some of our services include the following:

  • Leadership Coaching Sessions: Learn effective 21st Century management techniques.
  • Team Building: Enhance employee engagement and rebuild trust with creative team building activities.
  • “Big Brother” Program: A consultant will shadow leadership 2-3 days and determine organizational problems and offer creative solutions.

In order to be a successful/relevant organization change is imperative. An organization cannot change what it does not know, so learning is key.

Be Selective

According to Karl Weick (1979) it makes sense to have a recognition [selection] program. We offer several Out-of-the-Box Recognition packages to promote your organization’s mission and drive employee engagement. For more information about our products and services contact a consultant today at 800-123-4321. Let’s Create Something Great!

References:

Edwards, P., & Edwards, S. (2005, March 28). Starting a Creativity Consultant Business. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/76854

Eisenberg, E. M., Goodall, H. L., Jr., & Tretheway, A. (2014). Organizational Communication Balancing Creativity and Constraint (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford

Photo Credit: Retrieved from https://www.pexels.com/

 

The Real “Human Resources”

The majority of organizations today have a human resources department [HR], but what does “human resources” mean? Many employees’ interpretation of an HR department is associated with compensation/benefits, recruitment, training/development, and labor relations. Yet, the human resources approach, “… holds that open communication between managers and employees ensures creativity, adaptability to change, and satisfaction of the individual’s needs and motivations,” (Eisenberg, Goodall, & Trethewey, 2010, p. 89). The HR department gained momentum in the 1960s and 70s due to the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the women’s movement of the 1970s.

My experience working in a corporation is the complete opposite of the human resources approach. I am most familiar working in a bureaucracy which follows Douglas McGregor’s Theory X style of management, “…most people must be coerced, controlled, directed, [or] threatened with punishment to get them to put forth adequate effort towards the achievement of organizational objectives,” (Eisenberg, et. al., 2010, p. 84). For instance, I was required to obtain the Series 7 license at the institution in which I previously worked. If I didn’t pass, I would’ve been placed on unpaid administrative leave for 60 days, and eventually terminated [punishment], so I resigned after failing the exam. Initially, the HR department would assist in finding another role within the company if placed on unpaid leave; however, the Charlotte location lacked career growth/opportunities. Because of my resignation HR declined helping me look for another position. Today, in my opinion, the human resources department is a designated department to answer employees’ questions on policies, benefits, and compensation.

References

Eisenberg, E. M., Goodall, H. L., Jr., & Trethewey, A. (2010). Organizational Communication Balancing Creativity and Constraint (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford

Lorre, C. and Prady, B. (Writers) and Cendrowski, M. (Director). (January 3, 2013). The Egg Salad Equivalency. Belyeu, F. O. (Producer). The Big Bang Theory (Season 6, Episode 12). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ttj5Op9A1g

PeopleMattersOnline. (2013 October 22). An animated timeline of the history of HR. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/RpHX03q_3UI

 

Reflections of Classical Management

Although we live and thrive in the twenty-first century, classical management is still evident in today’s organizational landscape. Per my experience and observation working in corporate America, most organizations’ public persona(s) promote the following: equal opportunity, work-life balance, flexibility, and diversity. In addition, leadership appears to be interested in new, or innovative ideas from its employees. Yet, after the onboarding process, the private persona of an organization emerges.

I was taught to work hard and get an education in order to have a successful career. Compared to most people in my generation I am considered “successful” because I do not have children, I became a homeowner when I was twenty-eight years old, and I purchased my dream car before I turned thirty; achieving [independently] what others spend a lifetime working towards. Most college graduates believe a college degree will immediately lead to a rewarding career. In our textbook, Organizational Communication Balancing Creativity and Constraint Eisensberg, Goodall, and Tretheway (2010) state the following:

Students embarking on careers often harbor misconceptions about the world of work. Many expect their first “real” job to be more serious and orderly than it turns out to be. Likewise, they expect competent and fair managers. They are often disappointed. Once on the job, they expect a relatively stable career with a company, only to be surprised by the steady stream of mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures that change their job duties and add to their workload (p. 4-5).

I worked in a financial institution after graduating college for almost five years. In 2008, the organization in which I worked merged with another company, and the job security I envisioned was shattered.

Working in the financial industry, I have always been cognizant of each organizations’ bureaucratic management style. A management style  I am reminded of daily in the company and department of which I work. Theorist, Max Weber’s notion of an organization’s structure is still a vital business model in the financial industry today. Weber believed, “…for organizations to function effectively and efficiently, there needed to be an assurance that the workers would respect the “right” of managers to direct their activities as dictated by organizational rules and procedures,” (Modaff, DeWine, & Butler, 2008, p. 37). In my current position no one is free to think outside of the box and employees are required to follow certain rules/procedures found in the company’s intranet site. The intranet site is used to research /answer client questions and is considered to be the “Bible”. Yet, the  “Bible” is flawed. It is flawed because it is not updated with the latest information causing the employee to give out procedures no longer in use.  Updates to the site takes several months for approval and only a few colleagues are privileged with the correct information.  Thus it is the luck of the draw when giving accurate information.  Employees are not to go any further than what they are trained to do according to the “Bible”. Yet, in other organizations employees  are rewarded for going the extra mile and  thinking outside of the box. However organizations operating as a bureaucracy reprimand team members for working outside of the parameters. For instance, I am expected to be ready to service my clients at 8:00 am. The other day, I came to work early, but had to resolve a system issue. At 8:10 am I received a message asking if I was late. Luckily, I received a ticket number from technical support. Without the ticket number as proof, I would’ve been marked as tardy and received an occurrence.

Bureaucracies are generally government agencies—how it functions and operates. As mentioned in the article, Renovating Home Depot, “These days every major decision and goal at Home Depot flows down from Nardelli’s office” (Grow, 2006). In a bureaucracy the main focus is about following the rules as opposed to being independent thinkers. W. Richard Scott (1981), informs us that, “…organizational bureaucracy has the following characteristics:

  • A fixed division of labor among participants
  • A hierarchy of offices
  • A set of general rules that govern performances
  • A rigid separation of personal life from work life,” (Eisenberg, et al., 2010, p. 75).

I believe that the classical management approach is a successful management style for the company in which I work because it is apart of a highly regulated industry. It must follow stringent regulations  and is required to keep records [by law] to prove to the government at any given time that the organization is following its fiduciary responsibilities. Following fiduciary responsibilities to avoid potential lawsuits yields positive results for the organization. Due to the strict work environment, attrition in the workplace is high for employees and supervisors. As of May 2016 three supervisors, and several people from my training class quit; a negative impact of the classical management approach.

Personally, I am not a fan of corporate America and the classical management approach. However, I do believe there must be some type of structure in order for any business to survive. If organizations focused more on its employees versus numbers, attrition will drop, and employee engagement will rise. What thoughts or comments do you have about classical management? Have you personally experienced classical management? If so, I would like to hear your story.

References

Eisenberg, E. M., Goodall, H. L., Jr., & Tretheway, A. (2010). Organizational Communication Balancing Creativity and Constraint (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford

Grow, B. (2006, March 6). Renovating Home Depot. Bloomberg. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2006-03-05/renovating-home-depot

Modaff, D.P., DeWine, S., & Butler, J.A. (2008). Organizational communication: foundations, challenges, and misunderstandings (2nd edition). Boston: Pearson.