When long term goals are set people are able to lay out a plan to
work toward the goals with a strategy to overcome all obstacles and
barriers. But many times a leader within an organization will hit the
first obstacle and quickly re-question the preset goals – often
changing either the goal or the pathway there. Although obviously
any poorly thought-out or executable goals need to be carefully
considered in the light of a major or moderate failure, they need to
be either quickly changed or they need to be assured.
The manager that constantly changes directions for their department
is known as a “vibrator”. The change in direction typically happens
just when people think they know the goals, boundaries, or rules. A
vibrator’s employees quickly become disconnected, reducing
Think of playing a card game, such as Crazy Eights. You have been
playing your high cards saving your eights until near the end of the
hand. You know if you can get rid of all your cards except the 8s
you will be invincible. However, just as you play your last non-8 the
dealer changes the rules, making 2s the wild card. Suddenly your
entire strategy changes and you have to start over.
At a training session in a Detroit-area GM facility this exercise was
done. Participants in the session started playing a game of Crazy
Eights with two important caveats: they could not talk and one player
at each table had been given a different set of rules.
The group quickly figured things were not going well. Then they
vibrated. Some tried to play by the new rules but thought the old
rules were better. Some refused to change their ways, instead they
clung to the old rules and fully expected others would see the old
rules were better. Others just gave up.
Vibration is bad for an organization and vibrators, although well-
intentioned, are undermining their organization.
Use this term for developing skills in these areas:
A Bizerm™ is a new business term combining two
descriptive words into a single word or phrase whose
definition is often only known by those using it. To
see more terminology in the workplace, click here.
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