How willing are you to make the right decisions for your company? Are you willing to cut your own job out of a process because you know that it is right thing for the company? Or do you protect your turf because this job market is too tight to push? Do you think your company would punish a good decision that did that just that? Do your employees feel they can make decisions without fear?
We should all work towards creating a workplace where decisions can be made with the customer in mind only because we know that our company has got our back.
When I was younger my older sister taught me a valuable lesson as a manager. She told me that I should always strive to teach people how to make the right decisions and how to act like managers. She told me your department should function without you needing to be there. If you are indispensable to a department then you are also un-promotable since they can’t afford to lose you in that department. That made a lot sense for several years and I worked towards teaching anyone that worked for me how to think about decisions that needed to be made. Now through I’m ready to add to thinking on this subject.
We as managers need to create environments where the concepts of change and improvement don’t come with the looming suspicion of job cuts and demotions. If employees are afraid then they are not making the decisions in the customer’s and company’s best interest but instead they are making sure their employement safety comes first. This prevents companies from making truly great leaps in process because everyone is afraid to leave the ground.
Now the problem is after years and years of this exact poor corporate behavior, I can’t blame any employee for being skittish. That is management’s fault not the employee’s. For some companies you can probably stop reading since your ability to change this attitude has already set sail and you better just figure out how to keep your best people from leaving since if they feel skittish then they are probably looking for new employment.
I can’t tell you a lot about projects I work on for my current employer but one that I have been working towards for the past four years is about six months from completion. In a meeting with the three managers involved with this process this past November I was sitting there going through some calculations and ideas in my head and one conclusion shot to the front of my mind. If we make this process change and reorganize the way we were planning then two of the three of us would technically no longer being needed in our current positions. Yep two of us leading this change would be jobless by the end and that should have been a scary thought. It wasn’t though for a number of reasons but the main reason was my company doesn’t cut needlessly and doesn’t kick good people to the curb. We were making the right decision for the future betterment of the customer and company so we knew the company would find where we fit next. That’s when I knew the environment I was working in was one in which I knew the right decisions would not lead to unfair punishment or treatment.
I can sit here and say that in the next six months I probably won’t be in my current position with all my current responsibilities but I know where I’ll be going everyday. Am I nervous, sure who wouldn’t be if this change fails then I’ve staked a lot on it. When it does succeeds it will be extremely fulfilling knowing that I got to be a part of the change that helped our company move forward. Wherever I end up from there the process will start over again trying to build an environment that embraces change and isn’t afraid to move on it.
So back to you, what is your current environment like and how can you help build one where good decisions are being made for the right reasons and not for the wrong reasons?
Do your employees worry about what is going to happen to them that day or are looking forward to what they can make happen for your customers?
So I’ve been sitting on this post now for about two weeks because I felt it was missing something. I finally figured out what I forgot to say. Beyond creating an environment for decisions you have to hire people that are capably of making the right decisions. This means during the hiring process you need to gauge how well someone would make a decision that could have an affect on them. Are you finding people willing to move your company forward or just willing to do their job…. There’s a big difference between the two.