Sunday, July 18, 2021

Control or influence

Sometimes, some situations disturb us a lot. Those situations make us unhappy. Some situations have an impact on our life. Few years back, I had to face the labour unrest in one of the plants. There was a deadlock on the charter of demand and wage increase, which they were expecting. The organization was fair, and these all workmen were treated like family members. They were given all benefits from the day they joined. They were treated the same as white collar employees. However, they still approached the political party and formed the union. The political leader who was guiding them was expecting the favour from the company. It was not possible to entertain those union leaders. However, the management team was unhappy with the situation. Finally the organization decided not to budge on their demands which were unrealistic. This situation created unnecessary pressure on managers and their supervisors. They never experienced such a hostile situation in the past.

Once we realised that the hostile situation was because of certain reasons, I started to interact with workmen and supervisors informally. Further we established a cross functional team specially to manage this situation. It was necessary to build the trust and courage within the employees. Most of them were not interested in creating the issue to the organization and were expecting to resolve the issues asap.

When approaching a problem or any situation, it is important to break down the aspects of each situation so you can better understand how to approach the situation or event. Breaking it down can help you better understand your potential approach instead of engaging in unproductive issues and unnecessary disappointments.    

We started training and educating people on the following aspects.

  • Response of both parties to a situation
  • What aspects we both can control
  • And how can we engage, educate and empower them to deal with  

First part was more complex as we were dealing with human reactions.  We engaged everybody including internal union office bearers. During the situation we started discussing what is in control of local management and what is not, further we also discussed what is in control of workmen and union office bearers. This started breaking the ice. We also listed all the good points and benefits the organization was offering and how nicely workmen and union is cooperating. It took time, but workmen started reflecting. Finally, we agreed that we can control the situation and we don’t need to go for coercive actions. Workmen realised that the intentions of the management are good. This built the trust. 

We agreed the model with the union as per the following,

Situation >> Influence or Control >> Response >> Accept

During discussions, we always had an empathetic approach while dealing with the office bearers and workmen. We were aware that they were misled. Every point of the charter was discussed on this ground. During the process, we also discussed that if we don’t agree what will be the consequence on the organization and relationship. If they want to take it to the next level or escalate things like disciplinary actions, agitations, going for conciliation, going slow etc. what will be the long impact on both. Of course this was presented with facts, figures and examples. 

Within a month we signed the MOU and within 15 days all clauses from both sides were implemented.  After that we signed the CLA happily.         

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organizations, current or past) 

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Ashish Deshpande said...

Well said, Vinod!!!
And you rightly said, one needs to identify the root cause of the problem, so that he / she can work on the most critical part of the problem which deserve more attention. Once the potential cause is identified it becomes more easy to simply it by defining the problem and thereafter choosing the right approach or solution to resolve it successfully
Good one!!!

Avdhut Musale said...

Very well said.
Your experience is very well evident.

Preet Phuskele said...

I agree ...

Unknown said...

Its really good information to handle situation. Specially acceptance is most important stage which many times hard to identify

Unknown said...

Really good article,
Many times informal involvement solve issues.

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