Wednesday, July 6, 2022

If Political Strategies Infect Businesses…

 “Judge, I don’t have any evidence that my competitors committed fraud, but I want you to fine them and give us the money. There’s no way Crappy Smartphone doesn’t have more sales than Apple’s iPhone (tm). The sales online and in brick-and-mortar stores are rigged. Everyone claims they bought a Crappy Smartphone and not an iPhone, when we ask. Fraud has to be involved. Or the government is rigging incentives to promote Apple’s product. Or…”

You might think that’s a crappy strategy (yes, pun intended) to go to court with no evidence but it’s what has been going on for political campaign strategy these days. If a person gets 3% of the vote and the winner gets 70% of the vote, this loser says the winner committed fraud, or somebody did on their behalf.

Imagine your marketing exec comes to you with this complaint. The reason he/she is not meeting their market share goal is because the competitors are cheating. Imagine trying to hire a professional who claims they got fired because someone else cheated. Would you give them another shot or hire them? Probably not. (I do see CEOs who blame their crappy results on the government, regulations, etc. and I’m not impressed there either.)

Whatever you do, do not let political strategies of losers infect your business strategies. “Data is life,” a friend would chime whenever we needed to make decisions. Look at the evidence. Don’t go by gut and wishful thinking or bluster. The axiom “If you can’t beat ‘em with brilliance, baffle ‘em with bulls**t” shouldn’t work in business.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Most Important Aspects of the Workplace

 A major regional paper surveyed employees, with the help of Energage and based on a Microsoft Work Trend Index for 2022, found that these are the most important factors in the workplace:

  • Company is going in the right direction (76% rated this as important)
  • Company enables me to work at my full potential (tied for 2nd)
  • Feeling genuinely appreciated at the company (tied for 2nd)
  • I feel I’m part of something meaningful
  • Confidence in the leader of the company. (70%)
The lowest ranked items:
  • Benefits package is good compared to others in the industry (only 37% rated this as important)
  • Flexibility to balance work life and personal life (49%)
  • Fair pay (53%)
Which of the important factors relate to engagement and motivation (enthusiasm and commitment for the organization)? And would ranking high on the most important factors prevent employees from participating in the Great Resignation/Negotiation?

I’m surprised that flexibility ranked low, but maybe it’s a sign of the New Normal with hybrid office work (in office, at home). Flexibility as a sign of autonomy (choice) has increased and therefore isn’t seen as important. For example, how many would rate electricity as vitally important for the workplace? It’s a given. Likewise, the increase in flexibility has dropped its importance. 

Likewise, laboring in a company in which you have no confidence in the leader and question that the company is analyzing the market trends and allocating resources appropriately would decrease engagement. 

Working at full potential—choice, content of job, collaboration, making progress—made the top tier. Is it happening or is the importance a sign that this aspect is missing? I hope that it’s being fulfilled at least in the companies rated Top Work Places.

One of the shocking, though not surprising findings, is that more than half of managers believe top leadership is out of touch with the employees’ expectations. That does not bode well for the state of leadership. As I’ve written before, I could not watch more than four episodes of “Undercover Boss” because it was too painful to watch CEOs naively discover what was happening at the lowest echelons of their companies. What Microsoft found tells me engagement will never get above 40%. According to Gallup, engagement has barely crept “up” to 21% in the last year. Three out of five (3/5) are emotionally detached while one in five (1/5) are “miserable” at work. That leaves you one in five (1/5) employees who care about your success. Managers, stuck between top leadership and the frontline, seem to have a sense for what may be happening and aren’t getting the support to make a difference in their employees’ lives.

It’s been known for a long time that employees sign on to join “brands” but leave “managers” to go to another company. So pay attention if you’re helping your employees work to their full potential—i.e. make progress on project, improve performance—and understand how they contribute to a meaningful purpose/mission of the company.