Many a time, we have established that a healthy organizational culture is the backbone of a successful organization. People, after all, are an organization’s most important asset. What this means is that there is a prioritized need for organizations to have a transparent, healthy, and diversity driven culture. Such a culture ensures that all the employees working together to take the organization forward feel welcome and respected, can express their true selves, find the environment and opportunity to be at their creative and productive best, and collectively work, helping their organization make strides toward its goals.
While this is a known and often acknowledged fact, the pressures of the market we operate in, the fierce competition that is faced every day, the need to maximize ROI and grow top and bottom lines constantly push management to react, than act, with a tunnel vision to chase the dollars. After all, isn’t that how we measure our business success? Nothing wrong with that pursuit, except that there is more than one way of getting there. As a result of this relentless pursuit, management often loses track of the fact that; it’s the entire workforce that has to pull in one direction in order to keep up the momentum to find success and not just those in the boardroom. The boardroom management, as a result of this tunnel vision, starts believing that they have control to direct the employees to constantly act in pursuit of these metrics. The result; over the mid to long term, stressed employees, from top to bottom chase the magic number. Individual principles, ideals of work-life balance, individual aspirations, values and contribution, and employee-specific ideas of individual growth take a backseat. In pursuit of a single goal, with no adequate respect for employees as individuals, the clash of individual and organizational culture starts to occur. Eventually, the organizational culture turns toxic for its own good. Some employees start compromising their personal values to pursue the goals handed to them by their leaders and in order to achieve them, start pushing on their employees to work more hours, produce more, and constantly push in pursuit of the top and bottom lines. There are organizations that, instead of being the experts advising their clients, allow their clients to drive them. They believe that by doing this, they will not lose their clients to the competition. This kind of attitude permeates a fear of loss, which drives organizations to deploy unhealthy work measures to keep clients. Some employees see a conflict in their personal and organizational values and either limit their own potential to keep their jobs, to lay low or even, look for other jobs while waiting their time out. All of this has a very detrimental effect on the organization and its clients. While, this culture of fear, overwork, and anxiety may allow to push hard and meet numbers once or twice; it adversely affects the organization, its employees and clients, in the long term. This eventually surfaces as lost business, burnt-out employees, low morale, poorly managed potential, and high attrition that ultimately results in low standards of future recruitment and a business that dwindles with time.
No organization needs to fear competition or slow down its pursuit of top and bottom lines while nurturing a healthy work culture. Organizations can achieve all that and more by respecting and honoring their most valuable asset, their employees, and creating a culture that allows them to grow and perform at their peak. It’s important that every manager take the time to learn about his or her individual employees.
What are their hot buttons? What are their individual interests?
What makes them express themselves and act to the best of their abilities?
What are their strengths and what opportunities do they seek to learn and grow?
What do they expect from their work and the organization they work for?
Are they in the right jobs? How does their individual caliber and how do their individual goals align with organizational goals so the best can be drawn from them in win-win roles?
How do they want to express themselves and how does that interplay with organizational goals?
These are some of the important questions that every manager needs to seek answers for. For with this knowledge, they can partner with their employees to provide them with the tools and opportunities to be successful at what they do, to grow and take that next step to embrace higher responsibilities and flourish as individuals, as teams and employees of the organization they are proud to represent. For, when employees thrive, so does the organization.
Management needs to have the acumen to work with clients as true partners and not as just vendors or service providers, as consultants and advisors and not just order takers. When something that the client seeks is unrealistic, it’s important to be candid and let them know so while offering support to partner and work on alternatives; not just simply take the work on, knowing, it’s going to be a burden and hard on everyone in the team or organization. There are times and scopes of work when such things can be perhaps, managed however if it becomes a habit, it sets a wrong precedent. Competition being out there to take on business that you would like to keep is a constant, but why fear, if you have an all aligned work culture and a team that can pull through any challenge. And this is possible with the right work culture. Knowing this, if the management team can hold clients accountable to pragmatism while allowing for innovation to keep changing that picture of pragmatism, no client will ever leave an organization for a short term gain, for they know that they will lose out on quality, creativity, and an engaged workforce, if they decide to go somewhere else.
You see, strategy and execution are joint at the hip. Just as all strategy and no execution don’t take an organization forward; execution with no strategy also does not ensure results. The equation is simple, folks. Happy, satisfied, and fulfilled employees mean great path-breaking work. Such work means satisfied, long-term clients, and further evolution of new products and services meaning more clients. All this translates to a growing top and bottom line, a healthy business.
Now, I know you may think that this is another idealistic pitch and we all know how difficult it is to get to and sustain the ideal state, not just difficult but perhaps improbable for the long term. I don’t disagree but one thing’s for sure when you are in pursuit of ideal state, you are always somewhere around it on the map. And isn’t that something to strive for, knowing you have benefits to look forward to, that otherwise, you wouldn’t have access to? One way to get close to, and ensure the thread of ideal state lasts is that managers at every level work to build a culture of empathy and trust within their immediate team. Always seek and nurture people that imbibe the principles we discussed and continue to build that trust with them so that you are interdependent on each other. You all can then, ensure that the work at hand progresses under the cultural and work ethics umbrella that you stand for. When this is established, there is always a thread of that common culture from top to bottom within the organization and no matter the challenges thrown, the organization will thrive in executing its vision and mission, period.
Every person in an organization has a role, from leading and overseeing the organization to innovating and creating to selling more of what is produced to executing flawlessly. Every role, big or small is equally crucial in turning the wheel of the organization. What better way to excel at the organizational mission than having all employees be crystal clear in the understanding of their own strengths, challenges, opportunities and ambitions, their understanding of each other, and ensure they all pull in the same direction for a thumping organization performance, each time, every time.
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