‘We need something new’ – said the Manager
‘Something different’ – said the Project Leader
and then came the mother of all clichés – ‘All ideas welcome’…
No one answered
No hands went up
The meeting went into an ugly, pregnant silence
But the ‘ideas’ were all there …
The ideas on how to fix it.
The ideas also had a good idea of what was wrong in the first place.
The ideas were simply too scared to come out …
We have all been there.
It’s not pretty.
It’s that time when ‘all ideas welcome’ from all directions are truly needed, – ‘the business is not in good shape’ – the General Manager had said, highlighting the crossroads that business was facing.
Which of course, everyone knew, or guessed.
No big surprise what happened.
Within business life today people are more likely to build walls.
They’re insecure, often kept ill-informed, so naturally cautious.
Not prepared to publicly let their thoughts or ideas flow.
They just might be shot down, appear too simple, or be dismissed by the established team (the treacle group) who always appear to know the business backwards, while controlling it amongst themselves.
So, the norm in the workforce is often either live with on-going frustration, or have given-up-caring, or simply keeping head down and be risk adverse – hence the ugly pregnant silence.
It doesn’t have to be so….
Flip that insecure negativity on its head.
Assume a culture of mutual trust, respect, and responsibility, that leads to a level of internal openness …can that truly exist? Does it exist in some businesses?
Look at the soul of Virgin, South West Airlines (USA), John Lewis (UK), Bunnings in Australia.
Look at the cultures of businesses such as Google.
Why? These businesses actively encourage and thrive on participation and involvement.
Genuinely working with staff thoughts/views/ideas/and input.
Involvement improves understanding of the business beyond your own role, better use of time, ups productivity, saves monies, less churn – more motivation.
Everyone is focusing towards the same goals
People are central to the business offering.
Their behavior must reflect the brand to deliver a successful customer experience/result.
People are the major part of the success or failure of any business.
Go back to that meeting …
The same room, same mixed level multi-discipline employees, aware of the gravity of the business situation, their own jobs potentially on-the-line, BUT –
now ready to express themselves, contribute, input their ideas onto those sticky wall notes.
What made the difference?
All employees being focused on clear and understood business brand led behavior goals
Successful businesses are very clear what the brand stands for.
They ensure that the employee’s behavior reflects that businesses defined and articulated role that it plays within its market.
Leave behind the negativity of the ‘pregnant silence’, move to a positive world with an ‘air of expectation’, where meetings deliver results > for everyone.
Let’s put it into practice> make it happen…
(Picture from SQ Leadership)