I have long believed that the most important ingredient in achieving the most challenging things in every organization is its people. That they are the very foundation on which everything rests, from which we accomplish all that we need and want to do as leaders, managers, businesses, and organizations. That if our people are successful, that leaders, businesses and organizations will certainly be successful as well. If people thrive in their work experiences, have high morale, exercise their creativity, and are allowed and helped to reach their full potential and aspirations that nearly anything is possible. One of the fundamental requirements of effective managers and leaders is to enable, support, and ensure that those things happen. For me, this defines the key role of leaders and managers in every organization and business, that of being responsible for the morale, effectiveness, and productivity of the indispensable factor of production/accomplishment for all organizations; our people.
But my experience tells me that these views are not universally held and many (most?) leaders, managers, and organizations don't share that outlook. Many corporate, business, and organizational cultures appear to regard their people as something to be managed only as much as needed to avoid friction and conflict, to be dealt with by HR departments, left in the dark on their futures and business plans, and marginalized in finding and contributing to solutions for organizational challenges. The effects I see on organizational performance where these conditions prevail are not surprising; low effectiveness and efficiency, low morale, high turnover, mediocre performances, a work force that trudges through its day-to-day life with resignation and quiet desperation. The best people leave, the less talented and motivated stay, a creeping mediocrity prevails, deepens and widens, as the cycle feeds on itself. Most of us are operating at the low end of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and "getting by". In our work lives where we spend with to twelve hours a day, five days a week, for most of our lives, it seems tragic that higher levels of achievement and fulfillments can't be realized and the benefits of that be translated to organizational performance writ large.
Organizations can do it better, much, much better, and it's not complex or imponderable. It's straight forward, but it requires an understanding of the elements that produce superior organizational performance, beginning with understanding people and helping them succeed, so the business or organization can succeed and thrive. And it requires focus and work, over time.
In my next series of posts I'll tell you what people want from leaders, each other, businesses and organizations; how we interact with these key elements of our working lives. Most of it is provided by leaders and managers.
I ask my readers to share their thoughts, concerns and observations. Please leave comments, they will be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks, Keith Stalder, #7
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