You don’t have to be the sharpest knife in the cutlery box to appreciate the extent to which technology has changed and is changing the way we live and do business. We are, however, paying a massive price for this. Unfortunately we are not yet fully recognising this and so are not only doing nothing to reduce this price, but actively exacerbating the problems that are building up as a result.
“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” That quote from Simon Sinek caught my attention this week. It seems so obvious. Yet the majority of our customer experience tells us that it an extremely rare phenomenon. You don’t need any employee engagement statistics to tell you that the vast majority of people either do not love their jobs or the organisation they work for.
That is why a great customer experience stands out brighter than a comet flashing across the night sky. Let me share a story about what I mean.
Where do you fit on the chart below?
I see a time when people will no longer allow work to be a four-letter word and something to balance with life, but will value it as a vital, integral part of their life.
I see a world where work is not a bind but an opportunity for every person to celebrate the uniqueness of their being and the way they express who they are.
I see that each and every person will recognise their work as their contribution to humankind and make it a focal point of their lives. And that, as they do so, they will strive to maximise what they give and, in the process, optimise who they are.
I see that, as people recognise work as part of life and not an adjunct to it, they will regard their work as their business and do everything in their power to make it a successful business that blesses the people it serves as well as themselves.
I see people treating work as part and parcel of what they have to do, not out of compulsion, but simply to be the best they can possibly be; in order that, when their time is up, they can look back with pride.
And I envisage workplaces that recognises people for who they are; that sustain, nurture, encourage and enable them to be their best.
I see workplaces that cease to manage people as a resource and instead improve efficiency by encouraging, enabling and endorsing self-management. I see workplaces that acknowledge people for the assets they are, giving them back their independence and pride, and basking in the better results this brings.
I see workplaces where command is dead and control is a collective responsibility rather than an imposition: where organisations pursue purpose rather than profits at any price.
I see workplaces operating as single teams, where people do not compete, but work to support one another for the common good; of individual, business and the wider world.
I see this new outlook bringing a new enthusiasm and creating a zeal that makes it all a joy. I see reduced conflict and greater co-operation that makes the world a better place and enhances its chances of survival.
I see you helping to make it happen!
(With acknowledgement to Martin Luther King)
Bay is the founder and director of Zealise, a company created to help larger small to large business organisations to properly value their people and thereby inspire them to optimise their self-worth and so engage them that they transform organisational performance and bottom-line results. Bay is also the author of several books, including “Lean Organisations Need FAT People” and “The 7 Deadly Toxins of Employee Engagement.”
We are providing a training course for a large global client. They are running the course in a central European country, with the majority of the delegates coming from that country, but including some from other European countries. Nothing unusual there, but ...
Are you familiar with the “War for Talent”? Worse still; are you caught up in it? Recruiting and retaining people with the right skills to ensure, maintain and sustain the success of their business may be the number one concern of many CEOs. Only last week I read a headline, “70% of CEOs say they cannot find the right talent.” Don’t you be drawn into this ‘phoney’ war.
The term “War for Talent” was coined by Steve Hankin of McKinsey and Company in 1997, which means it has been around for nearly 20 years now. That is certainly testament to the catchy headline it makes. Yet it referred only to a likelihood of an increasingly competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining people as employees. So what you need to ask is, “How likely is this scenario?”
“Something fundamental is afoot – and it’s structural rather than cyclical. In other words it is not a blip.” That’s according to the October 2014 issue of “Management Today.” In an article entitled “The Disappearing PLC”, it highlights the fact that, since the Wall Street high in 1997, public listings have declined 50% in the USA and UK, 23% in Europe, and 5% in Asia. So what are the implications of this?
It started before the “Great Recession” but that period of economic history has seen it proliferate even more. Certainly reports suggest the trend of hiring contract workers is growing. Yet it is something you need to think about very carefully.
“’Teamwork’ is an illusion created when the individual components within a human system accomplish a goal that is credited to the collective, rather than to the individual efforts of the components.” That was the theme of a newsletter I received this week. And it certainly made me stop and think. (http://www.mondaymorningmemo.com/newsletters/reliable-truth-or-cultural-myth/)
I suppose, by definition, that makes it provocative and there is nothing wrong with provocative when it makes you think more deeply. Yet, in order to create this effect, particularly if aiming to change another’s view, any provocation has to be grounded on a reasonable premise. It must be rational or factual, or – at the very least – apparently factual, in order to hold water. So does this statement? Let’s take a closer look.
Unless you are Rip Van Winkle and have been asleep for the past decade and more, you cannot have failed to notice the increasing prominence of employee engagement. It is a topic that has become a key priority for the HR profession and that is also dominating discussion in the executive suite. CEO’s, facing an ever-increasing challenge to implement strategy in a high-pressured, constantly changing, competitive environment, are waking up to the wisdom of Doug Conant’s words, “To win in the marketplace you first have to win the workplace.”
In other words to be successful you have to win the support of your employees. You cannot will your way to success and you can no longer command your way there either. It is no wonder that employee engagement is such a hot issue. Unfortunately, there is a great danger that it is being over-hyped.
I encountered two very different examples of that this week.