Failure to engage… In 25 plus years and more then 500 opportunities to “look inside” different organizations – manufacturing, service, public, private, non-profit… a reappearing theme takes shape. A business’s ability to lead employees to a higher level of performance, OR NOT, is fairly predictable. There are relatively few variables in the equation.
Today I want to concentrate on the Fatal Flaws –
- Invisible Leadership – I recently met a CEO of a 2,000 employee, multiple locations business who had been on the job 18 months and had not spent more then 2 hours at any of the locations.
- Lack of clear, decisive operating plans that every employee knows and understands.
- Tolerance for continuing failures.
- Communications that are misunderstood or not understood.
- No sense of winning or losing – performance is emotionless.
- Employee compensation disconnected from real time results, just an exchange of time for money.
There are more, and the end result is apathy and indifference. What is the cost of this culture of indifference? 10 to 30%. Meaning, you may have 10 to 30% more employees then you need, or you could handle 10 to 30% more business without hiring. Productivity, quality and other metrics are suffering proportionally. Gallup reports it is costing US corporations 300 billion annually.
The solution is not to initiate a host of new programs or strategies to deal with challenge, but rather a well thought out, comprehensive, intentional system to define, measure, pursue and reward organizational performance, in a manner that every employee can understand an affect. Existing behaviors and paradigms are extremely difficult to change and nothing short of an all out cultural effort will succeed. However the rewards of a successful effort could be significant.