I am popping a lot of bubbles lately.
There is a tendency by the rank-and-file to project a certain aura of greatness about their companies to the point that when the rubber hits the road, tries to defend their stupid policies and procedures and leave the customer wanting to obliterate them out of the face of the earth!
A classic example of a website form that this organization is promoting to spur up public involvement and engagement with their programs. I put out my hand and expressed interest and started engagement. Well, they have a convoluted and archaic policy of internal referrals and Board approvals, aka 'insider trading.' I called the BS and they can't fail not to admit that if they want to remain exclusive at their own peril, they do not have to bother public citizens like us with these fake forms.
Another classic example of that is the fact that organizations whose mandate is to create public engagement end up actually creating exclusionary and elitist programs that bar interested people from actually being able to participate. Who would have thought that entrepreneurial programs espousing the values of community, transparency, collaboration are those that pretty unfriendly to newcomers and new entrants. This perpetuates the old-boys network mentality and creates incestuous relationships amongst actors in the space. Incestuous relationships are very harmful to organizations and individuals. There is no fresh air coming in.
Whether it is from the public and private sector, citizen leaders like us should refuse to accept the BS, call it for what it is, and get the attention of the decision-maker of the organization. Whether it is an airline, a grocery store, a non-profit, a church, or whatever, bad policies, procedures, protocols, or whatever systems have to be resisted with gusto. Organizations that fail to make corrections are set to suffer from many troubles or count their not-so-long shelf lives.
Are you planning to improve your organization this year? or are you gearing up to do the same-old, same-old?
A lot of organizations these days tend to do the latter. They think that by cruising along and being more busy (than means doubling up on the amount of programs and activities), they are being strategic and effective. Effectiveness here means in my vocabulary the ability to achieve the outcomes and results they wish to seek through their efforts.
Businesses, nonprofits, and governments cruising along and wishfully thinking that they can copy past success by doing the same thing are totally misled. If there is no effort to improve and surpass past year's performance, status can keeps mean sweeping the problem under the rug delaying the resolution of some of the issues pestering the organization that will actually help the organization move forward.
Are you stalling to discuss the next direction of your organization for fear of catching more problems than anticipated? What about the changing environment where complacency doesn't do you any good?
Get out of your comfort bubble and tackle the obstacles in building a new and secure strategic direction before an overwhelming situation compels it at your own expense.
If there is high commitment, it beats compliance any day.
If there is no commitment, then you have rules and more rules to compensate for the lack of real and genuine engagement.
Governments and regulatory agencies slap rules and more rules when it is more wise, productive, effective, and affordable to elicit more engagement, thereby in the long-term, you get commitment and fierce dedication.
Business leaders, owners, and managers must clearly understand this differentiation. If there is no real accountability and commitment to staff and employees, you will get compliant but mediocre and low-performing average crew. Businesses cannot thrive in the atmosphere of compliant, obedient, but brainless individuals whose task is to keep their jobs, stay away from trouble, and always say yes to the boss.
Committed employees take their time to understand their roles, participate in efforts to improve their work and their performance, and show their best towards the customers or clients of the organization. They are enabled, empowered, and do not ask permission to make a decision that will redound to the greatness of their organization. They are permitted to cherish the customer and showcase their talent going sometimes beyond their duties to accommodate what seems to be the right thing to do versus what is comfortable at that time.
There is a risk taking that is not merely tolerated but actually acknowledged and encouraged because the rewards for action make the difference.
When nobody is looking or paying attention to their work, are your employees able to showcase compliant behaviors or committed behaviors? Find this out for your self.
In the Philippines, we have a traditional song that goes....
"Planting rice is never fun"
"Bent from morn till the set of sun"
"Cannot stand and cannot sit"
"Cannot walk for a little bit"
It is not fun at all when you have a water buffalo that wanted to do something else! Life in rural Philippines had changed dramatically but in very remote locations, you can see a farmer with his buffaloes.
I don't know about you but planting the seeds of consciousness starts with preparing the mindset for a new thinking, acting, and doing. It is laying the ground work for future action that will take place in not so distant future. It happens in organizations that are thinking strategic, thinking long-term, and thinking about investing further along. Managers need to think carefully how to set the stage, create an environment where the status quo is no longer adequate to account for challenge, let alone, to compete effectively.
The best scenario is the one that comes from the decision-makers themselves and this goes not by serendipity but by actually nurturing and creating those needs for action, the ownership will be there, and of course, the resourcing will never be behind.
Leading from behind is more art than science. Let your nudge take them where you want them to go.
Okay, your organization made a big mistake, and the public is talking about it. What can you do?
This is when crisis management kicks in. It is just a matter of time when the crisis comes. It will come and don't hope and pray that it won't blow your organization to pieces. With social media, fiascos, nightmares, and blunders are magnified to the millionth power.
1. Create a plan to address the most critical issues to the least important. Is it a public relations crisis, an environmental disaster, a public health concern, a racist statement, a hostage situation, a sudden accident in the plant causing deaths, etc. What are the paramount issues that need to be tackled immediately, in the next 24 hours, 48 hours, and the first week of the crisis, second week up to the first 3 months?
2. Create a team or committee that will have different roles and responsibilities to deal with several aspects of the crisis. One person will be the one answering to media inquiries. One person will contact the people or customers concerned and inform the relevant stakeholders and agencies of the problem. One person will keep the staff calm and collected, and become that go-to for anything company related. One person from management will address the public and stakeholders via a public broadcast which may require an apology statement or statement that details what the company will do to avert further damage, destruction, or mayhem to the situation.
3. Keep the lines of communication open, internally and to the public at large. Nobody wants to be in the dark about a crisis that is developing that may involve public safety, public health, and life and death, and other serious repercussions. The more the company or organization is open in admitting its omissions and commissions, its errors, and gaps in its practices, solutions can be developed for long-term prevention and mitigation measures.
4. Something significant happened in the company that put them in the news. Whether it is because of certain practices that led to these unfortunate incidents or things that were taken out proportion and perceived in an awful light, these things can propel the company to sudden popularity in a not-so-good way. When Lance Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, all companies associated with the brand had to back off before their sales start to dip. Reputation management is crucial. Companies built brands for decades only to be damaged by malicious intent. Be responsive, address the issue, and take control of the messaging. If your company cannot control its messaging, somebody will, and it may not be on a favorable term.
The steps to crisis management start with creating a process to deal, contain, and control the situation from further escalating, empower a team to deal with different aspects of the case with central coordination, opening the lines of communication to all concerned stakeholders, and take responsive measures until all issues are satisfactorily resolved.
I grieve for customer service under the guise of virtuality.
Call us on the phone. Text us your opinion. Tweet your photos. Follow us on Facebook.
When you want to speak to somebody to establish rapport, connection, demand attention, file a complaint, you are talking to a machine or not even a machine, nobody.
Nobody knows what’s the process once the form has been filled, the phone call is made, or anything for that matter that is called reaching out. You wait for your lucky stars if they are even going to get back to you.
The bigger the company, the bigger the bureaucracy and bureaucracies kill innovation and creativity. It creates pockets of fiefdom within organizations where lower-level staff or personnel are not empowered to delight and please the customer. All problems and issues get pushed to the middle management where the action is synonymous to wait out and see.
I went into a job fair recently to talk to companies and organizations that are hiring and get their pulse on their industries. I asked one lady for her card, and she said, I didn’t bring any, just go to the website. Well, lady, you are not there on the website. The website has a bunch of information that is not going to give me access to someone like you that I met in person, talked about the company, and made that vital connection.
The purpose of the job fair is to get to know your prospective hires, attract the best talent, and get them to know your company. Hiding behind the website is inane, and it shows how either you loathe what you do, or your company wants to be more secretive than FBI or CIA.
Honestly, I don’t think I want to work for your that company.