Tag: business obstacles
Employees that interview well and ultimately get hired show enthusiasm, confidence and engagement. They are not a bundle of stress and anxieties. Who wants to hire and deal with that? Yet a glance inside most companies finds a high percentage of employees who are stressed out and lacking engagement. What happened? They didn’t come this way.
Many employers justify this change by saying that “this is the big leagues and what we do is hard” and employees need to suck it up and keep going. Sounds like they are trying out for the movie role of a Marine drill sergeant.
Conditions at work are what cause employee stress most of the time. It can come from unreasonable bosses, unreasonable workload, lack of collaboration, lack of voice, lack of decision making authority, being used in a position that does not take advantage of a person’s skills or talents or any combination of them.
People welcome a challenge at work, particularly if presented in the right way; if it allows them to do what they do best and if they have the right team around them to be successful. Much stress is not from the challenge itself but from the absence of the factors that enable employees to successfully meet it.
If you see stressed out employees, what do you do? Do you consider it normal? Do you want to reduce it, and if so, have you considered how? If not, you are complicit in the erosion of your own human assets that are costing your organization big money. Remember, they didn’t come to you this way. What are you going to do to undo what your company has done to them?
Every company wants to put its best foot forward, be it in the public eye, or in individual sales situations. Talk is around the strengths, the unique features, all of the things that make the company great. As we know, there is a fine line between extolling existing virtues and puffery. Puffery sometimes isn’t bad. But extreme puffery moves toward bluster and that evolves into hubris. Often times, this change is so subtle that there is very little awareness of the damage.
Hubris is dangerous. Selling on hubris is detrimental in many ways. Picture a small business that lands a big sale or big account based on the CEO overselling both product and service capabilities. The great news is they got the contract- the bad news is they got the contract and have no way to deliver on it. Suppose the company drops all other work in process to service this one piece of business that can move the company into the big leagues. What does that do to existing customer relationships? What does it do to the culture of the company when everyone is forced to drop what they are doing and focus- in a very rushed, maybe frantic manner- on something they haven’t done before. They may not have the necessary experience or expertise, which means creating a solution that is not proven, or spending a huge amount of time on research to build a solution. Or it may mean that the company has to bring on more people quickly to service the account, without properly vetting them and integrating them into the culture.
Be careful of bluster. It is only a step away from the cliff. As you slip over the cliff, you may be reconsidering whether it was worth it, but by then it is too late.
Does your leadership share the Vision of the company with the employees? Does everybody get it? Because, if not, there may be trouble ahead. Most cars now have GPS that directs drivers to the fastest route to their destinations. Most companies do not have anything like a GPS and if they do they don’t employ it.
Picture this – The owner or the C -Suite doesn’t share, They jump into their Porsche Panamera (big enough to hold four) and zoom off, yelling behind them “Follow us!” But they are gone before anybody else can get to their vehicles so it is all guesswork in trying to catch up. Some don’t even try, they just stay where they are. Others make a valiant effort but after a while just do their own thing or worse yet – give up.
We now have a situation where nobody is really on the same page. Some have given up trying to follow leadership. Some are guessing at what to do. Others follow their own rules or conscience. Does this sound like an efficient and effective way to do business? Hell no!! It sounds like chaos reigns. And this is a sound heard the world round in many organizations. Leadership does not step up and create and communicate with clarity a vision for all to believe in and follow. Great companies hire those who share the vision and keep and promote those who live and breathe it. Other companies might as well be reading Alice in Wonderland to their employees out loud, leading with the line “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
Within any organization, there are individual lessons being learned every day. Unfortunately, most of them are not captured and institutionalized. This is a problem because the same mistakes can be made over and over again at different places in a company, without any knowledge of the consequences that developed when others took those actions.
Remember how Lucy pulls the football out from under Charlie Brown time after time. He never learned and he kept making the same mistake and ending up on his back on the ground. Think about the Charlie Browns in your company- the ones who keep repeating the same behavior expecting a different outcome.
It is incumbent upon leadership to encourage knowledge management so that there are reference points to look to so that positive actions can be repeated and negative actions avoided the next time around. Institutional memory can be short- knowledge management and sharing makes up for that.
Unpredictable employer behavior can wreak havoc on employees. Decisions are most successful when based reliable on data and clear expectations. Capable employees who know “their stuff” can be made crazy by bosses who shift positions, attitudes and goals on a regular basis. It is a like a fastball hitter trying to connect with a knuckle-ball. That ball is moving all over the place and it is hard to track. Knuckle-balls are great as a part of a strategy in dealing with competitors. You want them to whiff. But you don’t want your employees swinging and missing.
Employers who communicate with clarity and set clear metrics and define success get much more positive performance from their people. Employers and employees are on the same team- they are not competitors, so employees should always know what pitch to expect. If the boss is going to “throw a change-up,” she should give fair warning. Employees make their best decisions when they are in sync with organizational and employer objectives. How is your boss pitching to you?