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My guess is we have all heard the statement “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink”. The last few days this statement has been floating around in my head. I have had a couple conversations recently about “how do we get our staff to buy into what Mandt teaches?”. Often the conversation has also included some statement like “most of my staff are on board but I have one or two that struggle to get on board”. It can be very frustrating when most of the people we are training get on board but one or two show resistance.

First, it is best to understand as a trainer from the very beginning, not everyone is going to buy into a philosophy of treating all people with dignity and respect. People come to the table with their own biases about certain behaviors and certain ideas. It is difficult through training to change strongly held biases. Ultimately, all you can do is present the material clearly, accurately and hope that people get it and understand the importance of the philosophy of the program. It is also important that you as an instructor role model the philosophies and attitudes that you teach in your training event. Nothing will destroy credibility faster than an instructor who says one thing but displays the opposite behavior

Second, once the person has left the course, it is up to the supervisor to continue the work that was started by the training. The supervisor must understand the philosophy of the training and themselves role model the things taught the training. Supervisors can coach individual’s and help them better understand why the organization has chosen to teach a program that focuses on the values of Mandt. Supervisors must themselves stay updated on the Mandt program to understand what it is they are supervising.

Finally, when most people at your organization buy into the ideas espoused in The Mandt System, induvial hold outs will find it hard to work in such a wonderful environment. If they are constantly talked to and discouraged to use coercive means when dealing with individuals served and other staff, they will not feel the work setting is for them and self-elect to leave. Nothing is more discouraging to an individual who finds safety in gossip and negative behavior, then to be discouraged by their coworkers every time they try to engage in negative behavior. Misery loves company and if they cannot find company they will gravitate toward employment where they can find like-minded individuals.

Organizations that have changed over to Mandt say it can take up to four years to make lasting culture change. It takes time to change long standing behaviors especially if they have been punitive and negative. Stay the course and understand that not everyone will choose to go along with a change in philosophy. Through good instruction, good supervision and a culture where people see the value in all people being treated with dignity and respect, ultimately your organization with have far less people who do not buy in and far more who want an amazing work environment.

Tim Geels – SVP Organizational Development

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