“Stay calm, Have fun, Laugh a lot.” – Angela Allen
“The American workforce has more than 100 million full-time employees. One-third of those employees are what Gallup calls engaged at work. They love their jobs and make their organization and America better every day. At the other end, 16% of employees are actively disengaged—they are miserable in the workplace and destroy what the most engaged employees build. The remaining 51% of employees are not engaged—they’re just there.
“These figures indicate an American leadership philosophy that simply doesn’t work anymore.” (Clifton)
“After two decades of working with CEOs and their teams of senior executives, I’ve become absolutely convinced that the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre or unsuccessful ones has little, if anything, to do with what they know or how smart they are; it has everything to do with how healthy they are.” (Lencioni)
“The most important decisions that executives make are people decisions.” (Drucker)
We have an organizational health problem in this country that is undermining the effectiveness of our organizations in both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds. The implications are far reaching in that it affects the overall health of this country economically, it affects the communities where organizations operate, and it affects the health of individual employees and their families.
The cause of the problem, and the solution, rests with those leading those organizations at the C-Suite and Board levels.
Many leaders of organizations have come through the business education system and are well schooled in the “hard science” aspects of running organizations. They know how to produce and read financial reports, develop strategic plans, manage supply chains, produce sales forecasts, ensure they are complying with human resources regulations, and all the other aspects of running an organization that are so important.
As important as good systems and processes are to a well-run organization, we have to embrace the fact that the health of the people in our organizations is more important than our strategies and systems. I once worked for an incredibly successful businessman who made the statement that there was no need for customer satisfaction surveys – what was needed was employee satisfaction surveys. His position was that if you have satisfied employees, you have satisfied customers. Put another way – if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.
Leaders have to learn to think differently about the people of their organizations realizing they are individuals with fears and hopes. It is up to us to take a deep look at our organizational culture and to start making the needed changes. Often it starts with looking in the mirror. It is up to us to first change our mindset.
It’s not really that complicated, but it is hard work. It begins with truly caring about the people in your organization. Do you see them as obstacles, means to an end, or as persons? Start with how you view others and go from there.
In summary is a quote attributed to Peter Drucker—“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
Clifton, Jim “State of the American Workplace Report” (p. 2). Gallup (2017)
Lencioni, Patrick M. The Advantage, Enhanced Edition: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business (pp. 8-9). Jossey-Bass. Kindle Edition
Peter Drucker, http://creativefollowership.com/the-most-important-decisions/
Often, when I hear people talk of leading others it is about the perks of being a leader. However, there are a few things about leadership to remember:
- It’s not about you
- Others are more important than your comfort
- It is about sacrifice
- It is about courage in the face of adversity
- It is about humility in the face of success
- It is about serving others, seeking their good before you seek your own
One thing bears repeating – It is not about you!
Do you have a leader development plan in place in your organization? If not, you need to and soon.
One of the biggest findings of the study was, contrary to the negativity, leadership development really does work: 82 percent of managers, peers and direct reports of people trained cited higher frequency of observed positive leadership behaviors among leaders after they had completed development courses.
Time and again, the research shows that investing into the people of our organizations pays dividends from happier employees, stronger organizational culture, happier customers, to higher profits, and long-term sustainability. Yet, either we don’t ever get around to investing in the people we lead or it is the first thing that is cut if we get busy or try to cut costs.
Why do we do this? Doesn’t make sense to me.
The Crisp Meeting is a great post by Seth Godin that gives you a framework for creating meetings that enhance your work instead of them becoming a drain on your productivity. Following is an excerpt from the post:
The crisp meeting is one of a series. It’s driven by purpose and intent. It’s guided by questions:
Who should be in the room?
What’s the advance preparation we ought to engage in? (at least an hour for every meeting that’s worth holding).
What’s the budget?
What’s the deadline?
The post has several more excellent questions to be asked in preparation for a meeting and some pithy thoughts as you might expect from Mr. Godin. It is worth a read in my opinion.
Solving the challenges in your life requires a deep understanding of what causes what to happen.
Christensen, Clayton M.. How Will You Measure Your Life? (p. 16). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
The following was written by my daughter, Lauren Allen, on Instagram at lallen48 and I think it is worth sharing with you.
“I would be remiss in letting this day pass without acknowledging what this date means to me and more specifically to my country, my home.
Many Americans lost their lives, many Americans willingly gave their lives and all Americans were changed in some way that beautiful day 16 years ago. I remember very distinctly thinking-how can it be so pretty on such an awful day. But yet friends, therein lies the beauty of the Lord and his continuing redemption of humanity…even in what appears a darkness that will never end…there was such a clear blue sky all over the US that day and there was the kindness of countless people in the US and all around the world that offered hope and comfort to us Americans.
There are stories-thousands of stories-that need to be told every year, because in story we remember, in story we forge new pathways and in story we see our shared humanity. Here’s to not forgetting….”