I am like many others that are followers of the ubiquitous news that comes to us almost on a minute by minute basis through the various outlets, either in print, television or social media. We are part of an extraordinary growing population who seem to have an insatiable appetite on a need to know basis.
Whether it is healthy for us to spend so much time absorbing this information and how it influences our thoughts and behaviours has become a matter of much debate.
Last night I sat in front of my television for a relatively short period, it left me with a sense of increasing concern regarding the growing number of businesses and its people issues that dominated the reports almost overwhelmingly focusing on the negative aspect of the stories.
It seems that not a day goes by without another piece of negative news being channelled to our door. This is manifesting in an alarming reduction in trust and engagement in many levels of our society and even as recent as two days ago two respected national surveys revealed that confidence levels in Australia were recorded at historic lows.
Following the broadcast I asked myself this question” How in a business context do we assist in maintaining the confidence and efficiency of organisations that may be struggling to manage communications which are received from external sources to ensure the information being distributed is mainly factual”?
At the same time provide our people tools to help them to meet the challenges of a perpetually changing environment. Mountains of messages are being received and the task of making judgements on their authenticity is becoming more difficult and confusing. This when the frenzy of speculative disclosure of unproven information continues unabated with what may be considered destabilising implications for the individual or company.
There is no doubt in my mind a whole cross section of businesses and employees are being increasingly affected in terms of confidence and motivation which inevitably has consequences for all parties.
This may shock some but I am afraid the stark truth from a corporate perspective is that it is almost impossible to control the flow of data and messages. Some of this material has the potential to influence behaviours detrimental to an organisation leading to a lessening of morale and introducing unnecessary conflict when the issues are misrepresented.
One must feel some level of sympathy for organisations as I know many are struggling how to deal with this fairly new phenomenon.
It is widely reported that people have lost confidence in the bedrocks of our previous beliefs, of government, institutions and business, this of course feeds” the beast “and exacerbates the situation.
Whilst I am at the moment rather pessimistic about the direction of our current national mindset I believe we must make strenuous efforts to adapt to the situation in order to achieve a reasonable level of stability. More positively there are developing signs emerging that some of the new breed of managers recognise alternative strategies are required to tackle this growing problem.
I would like to field the following proposition:
Readers of my previous articles written on this subject would know I possess very strong feelings about the over commercialisation of teaching leadership to our people. It goes without saying we need to see people step up in this field but I think investment and focus is being misdirected. We have seen an emphasis on training senior executives when in fact it is clearly evident that our middle managers require much more assistance in developing the type of skills which are relevant in today’s workplace.
There is an urgent requirement to equip managers with the skills enabling them to lead people but I feel the topics should be broadened to include a suite of more practical subjects surrounding general awareness, resilience, confidence and the topic of the hugely undervalued and misunderstood issue of emotional intelligence.
The key objective is to ensure all people in the organisation are receiving a mix of balanced information allowing them to make their own valued judgements .Additionally in providing them with a level of support how to deal with the new challenges which may confront them today.
So what can the benefits of such a change be?
- Teach managers how to communicate factual information on such matters as basic economics of factors that affect your business both internally and externally. This is distinct from the possible digestion of material from the internet which may not be factual or accurate. This can result in the understanding of issues before making judgements.
- Focusing on awareness of current day customer needs and promoting ideas to improve service levels. Increased knowledge of requirements and what role they can play in embodying this in your culture.
- Improving knowledge and awareness of how they manage, teaching personal skills of resilience and confidence.
- Developing a high level of abilities to detect changes of behaviour in their teams and take positive action.
- The ability to interpret your current culture and feedback to management changes and behaviours which may be proving an impediment to the business which requires examination.
- Developing new methods of communication and discussion with a high consultation content which can lead to new ideas from employees, this has proven to be very successful if handled in a professional but informal manner.
By adopting these measures and others you are sending signals to your people that you have their interests at heart and wish to maintain a healthy and sustainable culture. This includes trust which may have been eroded due to the events and developments of recent times possibly internally and externally.
Previous efforts to recognise the importance of these matters have received minimal traction, companies citing they add nothing to the bottom line, unfortunately their sentiments are today proving to be way off the mark, with organisations who are investing in such programs showing positive returns. There is a pleasing aspect of this as there is a clear understanding by some younger emerging managers that adoption of strategies to implement actions will benefit their operations. The suggestions I am making are not revolutionary and hope would not be interpreted as a drain on financial resources rather an aid to achieving a better platform which is more appropriate in today’s business environment.
It may be countered by saying some programs already exist in the education of these topics, this may be true but I am of the opinion that not enough depth has been applied and more than ever employees need guidance how to handle and understand the type of complex situations they face today.
Adoption of new thinking on how we operate our companies in such a complex environment is imperative if we are to emerge as a once again vibrant business community and rebuild pride in who we are.
Contrary to the popular view, people do still yearn for something or someone to believe in, we need to work with objectives to achieve this.
It has never been disputed that education is a powerful tool but it needs to reflect how we work and live today.
If I may leave you with this quotation:
“Upon the education of the people of this country, the fate of this country depends.”
Banyan Management Services has recently concluded some research into business education.
The research involved surveying business owners, directors, managers and others regarding the future of Management Development Training & Awareness in Australia.
The results of this project (including a short video) will be released shortly and available through various channels.
On application I am happy to supply you with your own personal copy by email.
Please send your request to email@example.com
Alternatively Call me direct on 1800 555 678
Who is Ken Wood ?
Interventionist, People Specialist, Educator
An interventionist and trouble-shooter with a genuine passion for people and a strong desire to achieve practical outcomes for his clients. With an extensive background of problem solving around the world he brings practicality and sensitivity to the table. In a seemingly world of turmoil he applies his incisive knowledge to the process of change and how to deal with it.