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Can engagement surveys tell you if your culture is killing your company?

Posted by on 27 Apr 2012 in The Capable Leader | 0 comments

Could engagement surveys have picked up the issues at Enron or other company that imploded in the same way? Could engagement surveys have predicted the decline of Sony or RIM? The answer to both questions is NO!  Engagement surveys can’t tell you if your culture is killing your company. That is because engagement surveys today represent benign tools that don’t measure organisation health. In the main they are a “happy measure” measuring how satisfied  employees feel about their employment experience, how they feel they are treated or valued and ultimately a good check on employee retention. What engagement surveys don’t do is measure the broader concept of organisational health.  There are several measures of organisational health one of which is employee engagement and commitment. However if you want to take an accurate pulse check and ensure that the culture is not killing your organisation, then consider these other attributes of culture (derived from Gary Hamel’s Management Lab) Structure: is the organisational culture hierarchical and rigid or fluid and flexible Bureaucratic: are management processes bureaucratic or a source of competitive advantage Power: is power held by people who value the status quo or people who value innovation Influence: is influence based on a personal formal position or his or her abilities Decisions: are key business decisions closed or open for discussion Innovation: are the opportunities to innovate only for senior leaders or for everyone Values: are values shared and meaningful to employees or are they not Goals: are organisational goals focused on bottom line growth or do they include other goals Engagement surveys rarely ask how safe employees feel about raising bad news or if the organisation holds its employees accountable for both short-term and long-term results or if the open questioning of strategy and approach is welcomed, or if power is distributed fairly and equitably, if the structure is flexible enough to nurture talent and so on.  All of this will uncover if there is something amiss with your culture and act as an early warning sign. Companies have been known to have great engagement survey results while going into major decline. It is critical that organisations do not lull themselves into the mistaken belief that their cultures are healthy by pointing proudly to what their engagement survey results show. Written by Meena Thuraisingham, Director and Principal, TalentInvest, April...

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Focusing on our underlying beliefs, rather than personality attributes or competencies….

Posted by on 26 Apr 2012 in The Capable Leader | 0 comments

Over many decades, writers have produced many lists of what makes a good leader. Most of these lists focus on personality traits and attributes.  For leaders who wish to develop the quality of their leadership, a much more fundamental step is first required: an exploration of their underlying belief systems with which they approach the task of business leadership. This list compiled by Geoffrey James and printed in Inc. is one of the most useful set of beliefs or values that the best business leaders use for navigation (based on research he conducted with the most successful CEOs): Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield A company is a community, not a machine Management is service, not control My employees are my peers not my children Motivation comes from vision not from fear Change equals growth not pain Technology offers empowerment, not automation Work should be fun not mere toil Get the full story at Inc.com…. http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/8-core-beliefs-of-extraordinary-bosses.html 1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield. Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of “troops” to order about, demonize competitors as “enemies,” and treat customers as “territory” to be conquered. Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers … and even competitors. 2. A company is a community, not a machine. Average bosses consider their company to be a machine with employees as cogs. They create rigid structures with rigid rules and then try to maintain control by “pulling levers” and “steering the ship.” Extraordinary bosses see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose. They inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community–and company–at large. 3. Management is service, not control. Average bosses want employees to do exactly what they’re told. They’re hyper-aware of anything that smacks of insubordination and create environments where individual initiative is squelched by the “wait and see what the boss says” mentality. Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. They push decision making downward, allowing teams form their own rules and intervening only in emergencies. 4. My employees are my peers, not my children. Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can’t be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from this attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds. Extraordinary bosses treat...

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