Will Economic Recovery Kill You Off?
Falling In Love Again
By Nick Pavano
Organizational Development Practice Leaders
may be at the earliest stages of a new “boom” or we may be
just experiencing the startling brilliance of somewhat less dark days,
but few among us can deny that there is a new, if cautious economic optimism
that is emerging. We seem to be ready to get our groove back.
many of us have been focused on pure survival, cutting to the bare bone,
making do with less, and lowering horizons, there comes now a quiet shift
in the wind. But becoming successful doesn't just happen; can we fall
in love with success again?
has been a long couple of years and few of us are now who we were back
“then” … that goes for our companies, too. Many of us
are a little “blue” from tightening our belts and holding
our breaths. The future will belong to those of us who can make the profound
shift from reactive to proactive, from defensive to aggressive.
many of us, our company culture has become marked by
emphasis on cost cutting and downsizing
readjustments in people, resources and vision
focus on maintaining and conserving
search for alternative resources (ex. outsourcing, “off-shoring”)
current employees as fully as possible (“If you have a job
today you are doing the work of two or three.”)
characteristics have created a number of realities which the wise company
will do well to ponder deeply.
Minor Emotional Apocalypse - We have experienced a profound
visceral shift from “Excelsior, the sky is the limit” to
“We are lucky to be eating.” This has had a marked impact
not only on our confidence, but in our trust … of the company
… its vision and manifest destiny … and of ourselves. Moving
crisply forward to new success will require a reinvention of a dream.
World Keeps Turning – Who we were and what we did worked
great … then. Then it just stopped working! Will it work again
in the new world? Does our identity need a rethink? Will a structure
geared to survival support success? Will stock options ever be the same?
People Hunkered Down - Our key people who are still with us
once believed deeply in great reward for great achievement, unequalled
professional mobility and recognition in their industry, and the excitement
of forging a brave new world. They were in love and it showed. Then
they saw their peers depart, the vision contract, and their workload
triple. When you look in their eyes today, what do you see?
Paradigms Emerge – Where once we couldn’t find
space for all the people we needed, now key functions and jobs are migrating
to Latvia and India and Shanghai. Will our old success model be sufficient
for the new paradigm, and do our people who stayed “down on the
farm” comprehend and embrace the new dynamic?
the competitive environment begins to heat up, the successful companies
of tomorrow will take action today to craft their new strategy. The future
leading companies are mindful that
First Success - The first companies to the market with a new
vision of success will be looked to by their competitors and their competitors’
employees as “the place to be”.
Ticking Turnover Bomb - Many employees today feel trapped,
overworked and ready for a change. The successful company will energize
a culture and a model which will excite and retain their top people,
while attracting the best talent in what may become the “post
slump turnover boom”.
a Key - A changing business model and dynamic will require
crisp, honest and comprehensive communication of a global vision, clear
definitions of new roles and expectations, and formulations of meaningful
and effective upward and downward communication channels.
- The new economic environment will present challenges of recognition
and reward for key performers. The successful company will develop reward
vehicles which flow naturally out of the new indicia of business success.
A CALL TO PREPARE FOR SUCCESS
To position the company and its contributors for success
to come, a few of the dynamic steps that are needed are
Perform a formal and fearless analysis
of who we are today. Who were we and how is that different from whom we
will become? What of our past is an asset, and to what must we bid adieu?
And what are the directions we will take and assets we must have? And
how can this be cleanly and honestly communicated?
RE-INSTALL THE VISION
How can our top management formally and
effectively “spread the word”? The personal touch will be
critical, and maybe a first message is that again the view is forward
to the future. But the effective program will be conscious, coordinated
and honest and will carry the company story of promise and participation.
RECOGNIZE OUR ASSETS
We may not believe it, but it may be time
to look around the company and see who is with us…personally….
really look. Who is key? Really key? Upon whom will we build and what
roles will they play? Recognize pent up frustrations, unfulfilled aspirations
and underutilized talents… and show how these may be satisfied in
a new, inclusive company culture.
may have been a tough time, but together your team came through. Has that
been recognized and rewarded? And what is the reward message for the future
success? Is it realistic, motivational and clear.
From slightly shell shocked,
confused and demoralized companies are emerging into a new spirit of cautious
optimism. The sucessful leaders of the future will discover the organizational
alchemy that transforms doubt into direction, vagueness into vision, and
disillusionment into common purpose…
suggest the time to begin is now.