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Coaching Responsibility for Two Worlds

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At a leading diesel engine company, engineers were trained to move beyond linear analysis and a pure implementation focus to paying attention to the energy level among their colleagues and interfaces and taking responsibility for keeping the place feeling alive. There was substantially greater cooperation, cost reduction and reduction of emissions in a relatively short period of time. A problem is a training problem.

The CEO of a large energy company shifted his attention from operations to creating alignment and getting people in the same boat.  They had their best year ever during the recent recession.

All it takes is for senior leaders and project managers to see the two worlds at the same time, and take responsibility for both.  Without people at the top encouraging and rewarding this relational-technical point of view, nothing will change.

This is a training and coaching problem. If you take it as such, you will see it as such. If you make it a technical problem, you will not see what is really going on. It calls for a shift in what leaders look for, what they act on and what they believe is really going on. Otherwise, companies will keep looking for the key under the street lamp of technology, and not where they lost it in the land of not paying attention to the way people really are.

There needs to be extraordinary training, coaching and practice in what engineering and technical leaders see, not simply what they understand. This will make money, save loss in wasted projects and create a more satisfied work force.

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