Focussing On Deviance and Missing Beauty

I often meet managers who are obsessed with plans and performance.  As a result they tend to focus on deviance.  Things that go wrong, that don’t meet the plan.

As a result they find it hard to see and acknowledge the good stuff.  The vast majority of their feedback is about problems and they fail to acknowledge or even see the good work that is done every day.

If you need convincing that you only see what you are looking for try this video for size.

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3 Responses

  1. Of course pointing out areas for improvement is vital but equally vital is pointing out best practice so that it can then be shared throughout the company. It’s an essential part of organisational learning.

  2. Looking for deviance is a necessity for leaders to look for deviance. Otherwise, innovations in processes etc could (as they most often do) remain unnoticed.

    There are lots of great stories out there on how positive deviance has improved nutrition in developing nations, limited the spread of disease, saved money, etc, etc.

    The focus doesn’t need to shift from deviance. Rather, the perception of deviance needs to shift, and leaders need to look for the opportunity in it.

    • Of course you are right Andrew. Spotting deviance matters. However it is the focus on what’s wrong rather than on what’s right which I was exploring. I sometimes think we get the balance very wrong.

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