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Punishment and Humiliation

64c695187c62d341754c3827f9303d5f?s=47 John Le Drew
September 28, 2017

Punishment and Humiliation

What does punishment and humiliation look like in a professional context? Is it ever justified? Why do we use punishment as parents, as a society or as leaders? And most importantly, does it work? Or rather, does it work the way we expect?

In this interactive session we will explore what these behaviours look like in a professional context, and get to grips with the difficult question of why we do it and do we need it? And while we're at it, do we need to blame at all?

This will be a deep journey discussing, for many, challenging topics, expect to be disrupted!

For full details of the talk as well as past and future dates, see
https://www.wisenoodle.me/talks/punishment-and-humiliation

64c695187c62d341754c3827f9303d5f?s=128

John Le Drew

September 28, 2017
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Transcript

  1. PUNISHMENT AND HUMILIATION @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com JOHN LE DREW

  2. JOHN LE DREW I have spent the last 2 decades

    working in the software industry and have been both the receiver and deliverer of punishment. HELLO! @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com Last year I started a podcast called The Agile Path, where I explored the concept of Psychological Safety.
  3. PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY IS A BELIEF

    THAT ONE WILL NOT BE PUNISHED OR HUMILIATED FOR SPEAKING UP WITH IDEAS, QUESTIONS, CONCERNS OR MISTAKES. Amy Edmondson Psychological Safety and Learning Behaviours in Work Teams, 1999 In 1999, Amy Edmondson defined safety as a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions on concerns. When I first read this, to be honest, I just didn’t buy it. Punishment and humiliation just seemed to strong. Because we are not talking about seriously abusive workplaces here, which exist, but they have bigger problems that we can cover here!
  4. WHAT DOES PUNISHMENT AND HUMILIATION LOOK LIKE? @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com

    Collect post-its Shouting Loss of bonus Transfer to another project No promotion Being moved to another team Salary cuts Being asked to move desk Micro-aggressions - comments about work that’s delayed “Are you STILL not done with that?” - often at stand up meetings etc.
  5. WHY DO WE DO THIS? @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com Justice! Behaviour

    Change - to discourage unsatisfactory behaviours from an individual. Retribution
  6. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE PUNISH? @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com How does

    it feel to be punished? How does it feel to punish? Does it feel better if you feel you have been ‘wronged’?
  7. @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com WHEN CAN WE BE CERTAIN? How often

    do we know, with 100% certainty that a particular course of action is definitely the right thing to do? How often to we have 100% control of our actions? How much are we affected by the systems that surround us?
  8. @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com NO YES A B C Here is

    a really simple, obvious project. We have a really clear end goal that is understood by the leadership really well. And, they all know exactly how to get there. There are a few wrong ways to do it, but they are all known in advance. Whenever new starters begin to work on this project, they are penalised for their mistakes, and they quickly learn how not to screw up. But, in the real world, it just doesn’t look like that does it? Anyone have a project as simple as that? Where they have 100% certainty of success so long as you follow a specific path?
  9. @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com 75% 60% 30% 50% 25% 65% 0%

    97% 0% 0% 0% 40% 62% 0% 72% In reality, it looks more like this. There are a wide variety of outcomes, some more valuable than others, some dead ends (where your only option is to turn back). This is what it looks like in reality. Who has worked on a project like this before? And what’s more, next time around, you haven’t learnt the best path, because next time, it’s all different.
  10. @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com 75% 60% 30% 50% 25% 65% 0%

    97% 0% 0% 0% 40% 62% This is know as the complex domain (referencing Cynefin from David Snowden) the previous example, was the the simple domain. The complex domain is where 99% of all knowledge work is done.
  11. @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com 75% 60% 30% 50% 25% 65% 0%

    97% 0% 0% 40% 62% 0% So, as we can see, there is an idea route through to success. Who thinks this route is the one that teams will take? Also, remember, that in reality, this map (no matter how many Gantt charts you create) will only be known in retrospect.
  12. @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com 75% 60% 30% 50% 25% 65% 0%

    97% 0% 0% 0% 40% 62% 10% No, obviously, actually the final path might look like something like this. And the problem, is that we still like to apply punishment in the same way, as if we were operating in the simple domain. Teams will work there way through, and when they hit a dead end, they are more often than not, punished for their failure to deliver, put under pressure to ‘make up the lost time’. We have all heard the phrase ’hindsight is 20/20’, and it always is. My ex an I once spent 5 hours hiking through the Umbrian countryside to find a village just 5km away. When we eventually found the place, we bought a map, the walk home took us an hour. But we like to pretend that foresight is as well. Things always look obvious in hindsight, because now you have a map.
  13. PUNISHMENT ONLY “WORKS” WHEN THE RECIPIENT CAN PREEMPT THE UNDESIRABLE

    ACTION. @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com It’s important to remember that if you can’t preempt the undesirable action, ie. I am planning on murdering someone, I might, potentially, reconsider if I think I might get the death penalty.
  14. NO ONE, DELIBERATELY, MAKES MISTAKES. @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com There are

    very few people who are actually out to destroy your project, you would probably be genuinely lucky to meet one.
  15. @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com 5% THE INDIVIDUAL 95% THE SYSTEM W.

    Edwards Deming A bad system will beat a good person every time. Deming was a statistician who is often attributed to the success of the Japanese manufacturing industry after the war. Interesting, as an American, he started working with the Japanese after the US car industry ignored his work. He tells us that 5% of mistakes can be attributed to the individual, the rest, it’s the system they are operating in. * His argument, would be that if you are trying to solve a problem in the organisation by, lets say firing someone who is making mistakes, then you will be looking in the wrong place 95% of the time. When I was talking on the previous slide, about how you will rarely, if ever find someone who’s intent is to screw with the project. How many of you were thinking "I'm working with that person right now!”? So, you have to remember that disengagement is not a personality trait, it’s a symptom of a broken system. How many of those people ‘the energy black holes’ I call them, do you think were negative and cynical on their first day? It was the system that changed them.
  16. IS IT EVER JUSTIFIED? @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com You are a

    product owner / project manager / etc. You have just got off the phone with a client at 12pm You
  17. TO FINISH @antz29 /// www.wisenoodles.com PUNISHMENT (AND IT’S SWEETHEART HUMILIATION)

    ARE COMMON ACROSS MANY ORGANISATIONS. BUT WHEN APPLIED TO PENALISE MISTAKES IN COMPLEX WORK, IT DOES NOTHING BUT INHIBIT CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING. IT SIMPLY DOESN’T WORK IN THE COMPLEX DOMAIN. SAFETY IS THE NUMBER ONE INDICATOR OF EFFECTIVE TEAMS, WITHOUT IT THERE CAN BE NO ENGAGEMENT AND A LACK OF ENGAGEMENT BRINGS A LOWER RESILIENCE TO STRESS. SAFETY IS A VERY PROFOUND THING, NOT BEING EMOTIONALLY ABUSIVE IN THE WORKPLACE SURE WOULD MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE. - ARLO BELSHEE
  18. THANKS! 
 
 WWW.WISENOODLES.COM // @antz29