Humans are social creatures with an innate need to help others. Technology and business process reengineering have made organization’s much more efficient with the need for fewer people to get the work done. The Great Recession was the reason that many leaders espoused to downsize their workforce. We got to this point because of poor management of people. There are a number ways of dealing with tough financial times. People can volunteer to work fewer hours a week. Some companies are already doing this. Another option is voluntary shut down for a couple of months. There are different ways of doing it without hurting people's lives.
The majority of employees currently working at large organizations are disengaged and businesses are starved for breakthrough thinking and innovation. We have created a cycle that has disconnected financial performance with the individual’s need for purpose, mastery, and trust.
To break that cycle, we need to recognize the importance of the organizational "community" by building cultures that encourage people. We need to back away from continuously pulling the lever of downsizing to maintain short-term profits at the expense of the community. Most executives leading business today will be the first to say that no single person is responsible for success or failure. Stop measuring people's performance by individual quantitative measure. Stop doing the things that destroy community. That is first and last.
Today, it is clear to many that senior executives do not value people because when times get tough, people are let go. This destroys trust and community.
There are lots of other things to do: Build the culture, respect people, and listen to what they are doing. If you are senior management, get out of your office, find out what people are doing on the ground; be more visible, not formally, but to put your ear to the ground and to know what is going on; and be part of the ecosystem. In a community, if we all interlock arms in tough times by supporting and sacrificing for one another, we will have a better balance of profits and purpose.
The Culture Change Plan – How Will We Get There?
Determine Desired Performance - senior management interviews. Gaining understanding as to the desired performance levels that represent a growth-oriented and sustainable way of doing business.
Web-Based Survey for Managers - identify Gaps in the desired performance versus the current performance. Perform a relationship capital assessment capturing service improvement opportunities and identify gaps in the current culture versus the desired state.
Align Senior Management- align senior managers to embrace the desired performance. Understanding that the organization is changing to provide a more streamlined service delivery, senior management will determine the key performance metrics that are most critical in enabling the organization to move to the desired standard of culture.
Service Essentials for Managers - this is a more in-depth course for managers to focus on building the infrastructure for the new customer service culture. In addition, the course builds the leadership skills of managers to create a customer service culture.
All Staff Training - as a result of the relationship capital assessment and interviews, you will need to create a custom program for all your staff. Subjects may include the perception of do-the-right-thing service, discovering customer requirements, considerate body language and social interaction, proactive commitment to service at every contact point, resolving disagreements and exceeding customer expectations.
Continue Improvement Process - changes in the organization will include new processes for work areas that will boost the customer service experience. Leverage the expertise of your front line people by creating process improvement teams.
Design Accountability - long lasting results will come from day to day accountability in accomplishing the new standards of customer service.
Follow-Up – to ensure your culture outcomes, develop a comprehensive follow-up plan. This may include daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks for managers to sustain the new culture level.
Post-Measure of Results - conduct a post-measurement assessment of your standard of culture achievement.
Transformational Leadership – Who Will Take Us There?
Transformational leadership has gained attention over the last twenty years as a new model for understanding leadership. The notion of transformational leadership was developed under the tutelage of Bernard Bass (1997).
Transformational leaders define the necessity for change, creating a vision for the future and organize follower commitment to achieving the results above and beyond the expected norm. In well over 100 experiential studies, transformational leadership has been found to be reliably correlated to organizational and leadership effectiveness.[i] These results hold up in a wide range of samples and contexts in Fortune 100 business organizations.
The GLOBE research program (a network of 170 social scientists in 61 societies) found that some leadership behaviors characteristic of transformational leadership appears to be universally approved across the 61 societies around the globe.[ii]Characteristics such as:
Transformational leaders articulate a vision for the future of the organization, provide a model that is consistent with that vision, nurture the acceptance of group goals, and deliver personalized support.[iii] As a result, followers of transformational leaders often feel trust and respect toward the leader and are motivated to do more then they are expected to do. In this way, transformational leaders change the beliefs and perceptions of followers so that they commit to performing beyond the minimum quality levels stated by the organization.