4 Tips to save Corporate Culture from a Heart Attack.
We've become obsessed with using facts and figures to guide our decision making. We've developed entire industries to drive predictive analytics into our everyday lives. Being creatures of habit, it's no surprise we're craving an extreme level of automation and guidance. However, are we missing something in our algorithms that could be the silent killer of motivation, leadership, and productivity currently plaguing our corporations?
The normal approach to answering this question would result in a lengthy discourse of recommendations applied gradually over time. Unfortunately, due to the rapid attack of the global COVID19 outbreak - we don't have time for that. If you've ignored pre-existing culture conditions in your company prior to the pandemic, there's still hope - but you're going to have to act fast.
Here's 4 recommendations to apply pressure immediately, so you can save what matters most in your organization - the human hearts of those entrusted to your care.
Become your employees biggest advocate.
When's the last time you've truly taken the temperature of your employee engagement? Do you know exactly how they're feeling in relation to your firm's mission and purpose? Too many employees are wildly dissatisfied with modern management and leadership. Mark Crowley, author of "Lead from the Heart" spots the source of our discontent with precision.
"At the root of the problem: too many leaders are entirely self-focused and lack any orientation for employee advocacy." - Mark Crowley
This doesn't mean digging into their personal lives, showing up at their kid's soccer games or conducting weekly therapy sessions. This is about genuinely finding out what drives your people and pouring into whatever aspect you can to improve their own life plan. We know employees are on loan for a given time, but you'll discover once you actually care about them as humans - your return on investment turns into a recruiting gold mine.
Remove politics from the corporate diet.
Unless your job is to slide around Washington DC or the the halls of Congress pushing legislation, we prescribe that your energy is best served on removing what is divisive, and instead unite around the customer focused mission of your organization.
The worst managers invite and leverage the trap of political discourse to establish alliances, reinforce relationships, and most insidiously may take actions based on perception. Study after study has shown that leaders, firms and followers who push politics in the workplace - all fall flat on their face.
“You’re going to alienate people that you have to work with, that’s a serious danger.” - Jeff Zinser
So while the temptation to argue who should run the nation may exist, save it for outside the office - unless your goal is to rule with a iron fist. Spoiler alert, in case you missed "Game of Thrones," this approach put nobody in any of the winning zones.
Don't manufacture an emergency, to push your employee's sense of urgency.
Speed has become one of the most coveted capabilities for corporations today. You're very familiar with how Uber and Amazon have evolved customer delivery in the product space, but how has technology enabled humans to better serve the human race? Has our obsession with delivery speed caught up to our ability to process change along with the need?
Take the example of finding yourself on the receiving end of an anxiously frantic call from your boss or manager. What's the first thing that comes to mind? Is it finding a solution to the problem, or do you end up playing the role of psychologist to cure the emergency level of anxiety being cast your way? Unless this is your actual role, attempting to mitigate management's inability to maintain emotional control ends up taking a toll. Turnover, lack of productivity, and poor motivation are just a few of the underlying symptoms resulting from a leader's leaky and emotional heart valve.
“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it." - Simon Sinek
If you're in charge and constantly pushing speed, instead of the reason for the customer
need - your whole mission can backfire as your staff burns out. Employees are too smart and can tell if the squeeze is based on an unrealistic timeline to get something done, vice an actual deliverable that the company has promised to someone.
Simon Sinek does a great job explaining how leaders can inspire progress, rather than manipulating them to quickly get something done and cause unnecessary duress. Be upfront and proactive on the task, and you'll easily flatten the curve of anxiety to get the most out of your staff on the next task.
Closely monitor the pulse of your corporation.
Now that your employees know you:
Have their back
Keep politics out of the corporate stack
Won't push them to have a heart attack
You must finally deliver a steady and productive Best Positive Management (BPM) strategy for the organization. If attitudes towards the effectiveness of leadership drop back to a shallow pulse, your corporation must immediately restore positive pressure to the culture. There are many ways to do this, but as as the company's first responder, you must ensure the effort is Authentic, Comprehensive and Targeted (ACT) towards your firm's specific values.
Progress can backfire very quickly if you start ignoring the subtle signs of a culture that is cracking. Hiring external consultants who know too little about your company and aren't fully invested in your success are nothing more than a bandaid. It simply won't stop the bleeding of talent loss that only results in a monstrous costs.
Caring is something new to corporations. Many have felt the price of poor leadership, but never really learned. It's time to focus on delivering positive forward outcomes for the employee experience, instead of looking back at bridges burned.