The only thing we have to fear is fear itself…. and the resulting poor performance and culture it induces.
Globally, the market (yet again) is in a spin….what will 2012 be like? How will the European markets affect our economies and what exactly will happen there….will there be a collapse of the economy? Will someone come to their rescue? Will ‘they’ wisen up and change the way they manage their economy, culture and employment? And it’s not just Europe, what of the USA market? Will it experience another dramatic, yet predicted fall? Whatever the outcome, it will not be solved overnight so the reality is that we need to manage our economy and businesses the best we can and put in place strategies to counteract multiple situations.
Let’s think about how companies generally manage financial crises…..many tighten the purse strings, they hold off on investments, cursory spending and the whispers soon sound (if not outright announcements) that jobs will be lost. This has all happened without so much as a strategy being put in place to ‘weather the storm’. So the first message your employees hear is, “This ship may be about to sink!” What can we assume that this does for employee morale and loyalty?
The chances are what we are doing to our people is encouraging an attitude of scarcity (giving those that aren’t high achievers some excuses why they are not performing), breeding a sense of insecurity and downright fear of the future. Some are stuck…..do I move to somewhere I’m not sure what the future will be like or stay here and stick it out…..better the devil you know? Mostly that is the thought process of those not confident in their ability to adapt to different environments. Your top performers will rise to the challenge and take their chances. Either way your employees may start to resent the way that you have or haven’t managed the potential turn in the market. Those that felt a strong allegiance to your business have now lost faith.
This can be overcome! The market is what the market is, however, much of the market becomes the way it does because the majority of organisations create those situations with their fear. They cut off the business that they are providing other organisations, and in turn that also happens to them. Good old Catch 22!! So what can we do?
- Creating a strategy with your employees of how to weather bad market conditions and getting people focused on the potential opportunities rather than scarcity gives the employees a chance to feel that they are being supported by management and it is safe to ask for help.
- Providing clarity around strategy and purpose (and I’m not just talking about revenue targets – we all understand them, but that does not provide a clear direction and purpose for all employees, let alone a ‘how to’ roadmap).
- Ensure that communication to employees is positive and regular – transparency creates a feeling of being a part of something. The moment people feel a level of secrecy amongst management, they feel left out and will start creating their own version of the truth and it won’t be good, giving strength to the old ‘rumour mill’.
- Seek help yourself if you are not sure you have enough information and are making the right decisions for the future. Change does not occur with the same thought processes we have used in the past. As Marshall Goldsmith rightly states, “What got you here, won’t get you there”.
2012 has the capacity to be a great year for many……for that to happen we need to be in the driver’s seat, and have our people on our bus and committed to the journey. How has your 2012 journey started?
A great way to kick off 2012 is to assess the current mindset of your organisation with a Mindset Check. Our free culture and employee engagement survey and report will help you determine employee engagement, cultural issues and highlight your readiness for change.
Contact us now and a consultant will be in touch to discuss your specific workforce demographics. We will customise the survey based on our discussion with you, and send you a web link to the assessment for your employees to complete.