Posts Tagged attitude

145 – Resilience

 

A company’s level of resilience may determine whether it succeeds or fails, how constructively it responds to change, setbacks and stress. A well developed culture is resilient.

Resilient Plant

A 400 person California manufacturing plant, one of 10 in the national corporate system, had during 30 months, doubled its productivity. No other plant in the company was even close. Along with this highly developed “we-are-the-best” company culture, came a positive attitude to stress and trauma.

Introducing new products into the production process was normally stressful. Most of the company’s other plants maneuvered to avoid taking on new products and making the necessarily disruptive changes to their production. It invariably meant a drop in their performance. Not so in this California plant. Employees there relished the challenge posed by the new products. It energized them. It was the one plant that actively solicited new products. The employees enjoyed devising new and creative ways to respond to the manufacturing and packaging challenges. The employees saw themselves as successful achievers, proud of their company-wide reputation as being the “do-anything-number-one-plant”. While every other plant saw new products as a negative, this plant saw them as a positive. That was their attitude toward everything — which was why they were number one.

Increasing Unpredictability Calls for New Ways

Many gurus of corporate life and the marketplace suggest we are moving further from predictability – more towards managing change and uncertainty. I agree. The appropriate response to an increasingly unpredictable world is not to try and develop more refined predictive models, but to develop systems and organizations that respond rapidly and appropriately to the expected but unknown new demands.

If what you predict is constant, accelerating but unknown change, the appropriate response is an engaged, healthy, stay-calm, resilient, positive, energized corporate culture. Resilient companies succeed because there is corporate wide trust and support, open and honest communications across divisions and between levels, and no resistance to change, because everybody is appropriately joined to their environment.

In a rapidly changing world we don’t know where we will be next year. But we do know that with the right corporate culture, with the right attitude, with engagement and resilience, we will arrive safe, sound, and successful.

cc 145 – © Barry Phegan, Ph.D.

Posted in: About Company Culture — Why is Culture Important?

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131 — Why Employees Do What They Do

 

Employees’ imaginations inspires their actions. When employees feel positive they will act positively. Leaders can create this positive situation by behaving with a clear set of desirable values such as honesty, care, trust, respect and empathy.

Think-Feel-Act

Employee’s behavior follows their imagination. We may not always notice that imagination precedes our actions, but it does.  Sports coaches know this. They ask players to practice the game in their mind. “Imagine the follow through on your (golf) swing.”

We Choose Our Attitude

Every moment, everyday each employee chooses his or her attitude, whether to be productive or not, to be creative or not, to be cooperative or not, to be timely or tardy, to stay or to leave. And every employee chooses what fits into the company’s culture, the workplace expectations, or norms.

With the right company culture people imagine bringing more to the task, being more engaged, more responsible. In a poor culture, employees imagine being less engaged.

If People Can’t Satisfy Their Desires at Work, They May Disengage, or Even Worse!

Most employees want to have a good day, feel productive, be recognized for their achievements, and go home looking forward to returning to work the next day. If the work culture does not allow this, employees will be frustrated.

Frustrated employees withdraw their energy, creativity, and responsibility. Some will resign. Others will become actively resentful, or passive-aggressive, withholding information essential to the organization’s success. In a hostile work environment, a person may even retaliate by sabotaging operations, or in extreme cases becoming homicidal.

Engagement Is Very Profitable

You can assess the cost of low employee morale and motivation by watching the increasing productivity in a developing culture. As a culture develops, productivity increases anywhere between 10 and 100 percent. This gain represents the lost productivity of companies with a poor culture. Nationally this loss is huge, in the $trillions annually.

Developing a company culture where people see themselves as excited, caring, engaged, and valued team players, is an easy, low-cost way for leaders to make major jumps in company performance, stepping well ahead of the competition. To do this see 25 Actions to Build Your Culture

cc 131 — © Barry Phegan, Ph.D.

Posted in: About Company Culture — Person and Behavior

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133 — Splitting Thoughts and Actions Cuts Profits

For many employees, what goes on in their head is not what they show through their words and actions. This split between thought and behavior is stressful and unproductive, a waste of company resources — bad for people and bad for business.

One of the many threads that led to my interest in culture was the book Something Happened by Joseph L. Heller of Catch 22 fame. In his book, Heller chronicles the inner life of Bob Slocum, a corporate middleman acutely conscious of company politics and power.

Like your average corporate employee, Bob Slocum struggles with what to say and what not to say in a meeting. He tries to interpret comments and glances in a hallway. He is uncertain about where he stands in the eyes of those above him. He does not say what he thinks. The contrast between his thoughts and actions, his feeling and words is jarring. What is real and unreal, true or false, rapidly blurs.

This describes my own experiences in my 20s, first as an employee, and later as a supervisor and manager in several companies. Later I thought, “If Slocum experiences corporate life like I do, perhaps others do also. Why don’t we talk about this at work?”

Dividing Thought and Action

We each adopt to the world of work. If we don’t we are ejected. I learned, as most of us do, that at work we discuss the abstractions, the ‘quantitative’ details of production — the numbers. In business meetings we rarely discuss the hard data of our immediate concrete experiences of work. We do not put these personal facts on the table. We sit in meetings thinking constantly, saying little. If we do talk about our feelings, it is at lunch, at the water cooler, in the restroom, after the meeting, or to our spouse in the evening, or to our friends at social gatherings.

Joining Thought and Action

Companies with well-developed cultures build relationships and trust that allow people to say what they are thinking, to be what they long to be, to hold together thought and action, to bring more of themselves to work. These companies are highly energetic and creative, a pleasure to work in, very productive, and exceptionally profitable.

cc 133 — © Barry Phegan, Ph.D.

 

Posted in: About Company Culture — Person and Behavior

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