The alchemy of the Fifth Element: bringing it all together

The Essential Fifth Element highlights the importance of understanding the interdependence between the workplace practices described in each of the four Elements. There is sufficient research to demonstrate that each bundle of practices described above does not exist in isolation but is influenced, for better or worse, by the extent to which the values and goals that underpin it are supported by those of the others.

The related workplace practices which either support or undermine change in another area of practice are known as Interdependencies, and these will form an important part of your action plan.

Where do we start?

A great question! And the answer will be different for every organisation, each with its unique history, relationships, challenges and opportunities.

The Essential Fifth Element Diagnostic is a powerful means of gaining an overview of what is working and what needs to be fixed, and unlike most employee surveys is designed to feed directly into a practical action plan based on defined opportunities for change.

Those employees who are surveyed will have many of the insights and answers necessary to take the next steps. Survey results are best shared with all employees and used to stimulate reflection and dialogue across the organisation. Senior managers demonstrate distrust and feed rumour when they hold on to survey results and worry about sharing them.

Open and inclusive dialogue with employees at every level, and in which senior teams are actively involved, is indispensable. Be imaginative in the way that you stimulate the sharing of ideas and experience. Openness may not come easily, especially where people have not been asked for their ideas previously, and they may need reassurance. Trust and confidence are essential.

Facilitated peer group discussions involving employees at every level can illuminate the causes of deep-seated problems and point the way towards solutions. Managed well, these discussions begin a process of involvement which moves seamlessly from analysis to action.

As the programme progresses, you will experience a diverse range of real-life examples and success stories. Many companies have started on the journey of transformation because they have been stimulated to challenge the status quo by experiencing the effects of workplace innovation in other organisations.

Sometimes the answer is to start with a problem. How can we find the root causes of recurrent obstacles to high performance or employee engagement? For example:

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