Why Broken Windows Management Works by Dr. Tom DePaoli
“Is your work area so impressive and safe that employees could take-their-child-to-work any day, at any time?”
In Broken Windows Management for Business:10 Minutes to Fearless Employees author Dr. Tom DePaoli offers practical strategies learned from his career in many organizations. A description of some of the principles of broken windows management is made relevant to both business and other organizations.
The broken windows management analogy to some criminal justice theories is obvious. In many cities of the country there’s a fear on the streets; especially if there’s disorder and the environment is in disarray. In many organizations there’s a strong fear of management. Much is due to employees who do not understand the actions of upper management. One of Deming’s most important points was to drive out fear. Prevention of disorder and actually fixing things that employees say are wrong; goes a very long way to establishing trust and credibility with management. Management must be vigilant and constantly try to control disorder and fix the things and issues that employees’ value. These actions reduce employee fear of management and actually help gain trust. Trust is enhanced by quickly fixing things that employees’ want fixed. A simple but not much used concept.
A lot of broken windows management is ‘learning by doing’. There is ample room for creativity and having fun with broken windows management. Broken windows management is a journey not a quick fix. After years of employee neglect it will take time for broken windows management to work. It remains one of the most viable and practical ways to achieve quality of work life improvement. Dr. Tom relates some for the principles of 5S and the kaizen methodology to the broken windows management approach. Told in part via a story or blog post like format, Broken Windows Management for Business uses real life examples to discuss what goes right, and often wrong, in the broken windows management trenches.
Dr. Tom contrasts the broken windows management approach to current management fads, which are often ineffective, trendy, and shallow flavors-of-the-month. Broken windows management is strong on actions and results orientated approach. It requires a powerful ongoing commitment from management. The emphasis is on fixing employee issues, correcting complaints and solving problems expeditiously. Attention to detail and a passion for meeting employee’s needs are at its centerpiece. Broken windows management also places an emphasis on order and trying to create an impressive workplace that employees and customers would be proud of and motivated to keep clean. Dr. DePaoli sets a benchmark that the work area should be so impressive and safe that employees could take-their-child-to-work any day, at any time.
Broken windows management is not a silver bullet or a theory that will fix all the problems in an organization. It is certainly something to consider based on the failure of many other management flavor-of-the-month attempts to improve employee morale. Finally, if you give employees the tools and resources to fix many of the issues and problems on their own, without interference from upper management, you will establish a strong culture of self-reliance and skills for employees to solve their own issues. Broken windows management for business greatly encourages solving issues at the lowest or core level, a fundamentally strong management principle. Giving broken windows management a chance can empower employees and improve management credibility tremendously.
Like some good business leaders (unfortunately now in the minority), the author places employee needs first and foremost in his book. “Many organizations have lost sight of the value of their employees and treat them very poorly. They can provide an energized face to the customer that will provide a significant competitive advantage.” The actual theory of broken windows management for business is not complicated. It does not require tedious certifications; long training sessions or expensive consultants. It does require a strong commitment from management to listen to employee complaints, get well organized and fix them. The theories of clean design and ergonomics can also help.
Dr. DePaoli remains convinced that broken windows management for business is a proven and very effective method to improve employee trust and loyalty.
Broken Windows Management in Business:10 Minutes to Fearless Employees is available in both print and eBook formats at Amazon.