A Surprisingly Common Executive Business Parable

Business is good. Your company’s investors or owners are upbeat.

Employee morale is high and your executive peers report things are going really, really well, aside from the occasional firefighting one must do at the senior management level.

For many of us, it is easy to see our varied business environments, industry spaces and regional or national economies through rose-coloured glasses when those around us are showing good financial results or successfully tapping new business opportunities.

Yet there may be something very different lurking within the culture of your organisation.

Typically, it is the kind of sentiment triggered by a lack of communication or perhaps some misinformation that finds its way through the ranks of your company’s workforce.

Or, perhaps it may be something related to the behaviour of a single manager, which, if left unchecked, can cause cultural fault lines just beneath any executive’s view of what’s really going on.

The point is, whatever the catalyst, there may be a real issue percolating just below your own executive line of sight in the organisation.

A surprisingly common executive business parable is indeed the case of the high-performing global business executive who ultimately is surprised to learn that the performance he or she was getting from their teams simply wasn’t sustainable, largely because of some disconnect.

There is actually significant room for such a disconnect to emerge between managers and employees. In fact, this is really the frontline of organisational performance – and, in many ways, the stuff that builds and moulds and shapes individual executives’ own reputations.

Just ask yourself some of these questions as a bit of a litmus test on the risks that may be looming in your own organisation:

1. Are you really sure that the managers who report to you are treating those who report to them fairly and engaging with them regularly to inspire and recognise great performance?

2. Are you leaving communication at those levels purely between your managers and those employees? Or are you going out and engaging people to hear the real story from the front lines?

3. Are you bridging the gaps that you discover with action rather than merely promises?

The lesson here is that just when things seem to be operating at full-tilt and as positively as they can, it would be wise for you as a global leader to engage with people up and down the organisation in search of potential conflicts and unhealthy tensions that could impact performance.

The earlier you spot potential pitfalls, the faster you can get to solving them. The longer it takes you to recognise the problems, the bigger the potential risks to your organisation and your reputation.

Sometimes, when things are going best, it takes courage and an inquiring mind to sort out just how long the good times can last, and why they may not – before the results start to catch you by surprise.

Copyright © TRANSEARCH International 2016


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