Tuesday, 13 March 2012
I was reflecting once again, while running a Bird Island exercise, how much impact Pride has on learning motivation.
People start this exercise by building a structure from bricks and sticks and rubber bands. they work in isolated teams, and have no knowledge of the task before they start. They create relatively small structures, but are inordinately proud of them.
After a while, we get the teams to share knowledge with one another. They send one member out of the door to go and interact with another team, and very often they have a little discussion about how open the team member should be with the others. Last week, one team actually suggested to their envoy that if the other team's structure was smaller, they should give misinformation, rather than share knowledge with them. They were proud of their success, and did not want to share it.
What happened to many of the teams, was that they found that the other teams' structure was much taller, and that theirs looked like a midget in comparison. Now their pride was dented, they realised that their performance was mediocre, and that they had a lot to learn.
When we got the team together in a group and showed them current best practice, their pride was dented even more. Even the best of the structures was less than half the height of the current world record. And sure enough, when we built the structures again, everyone was liberally copying from the "best practice". There as no evidence of the "Not Invented Here" syndrome.
That's because wounded pride kills "not invented here".
People want to do a good job, they want to be among the leaders, and if they find that their current approach gives results that are bottom quartile they will not defend the approach, they will not display NiH, but will look for knowledge from any source they can, to restore Great Performance.