Great leaders do not sugar coat the truth. When a past recession hit, one CEO of a large manufacturing company confronted the realities and knew something had to change for his company to survive.
Peering over his reading glasses, he looked across the desk at one of his employees and said, “Nothing in this company is sacred. Everything will be evaluated and put on the chopping block in order to maintain profitability. This economy is but a wake-up call. We will survive.”
Leadership teams across the world hear the wake-up call whenever an economic recession hits, but the quickly changing landscape of the 21st century requires continuous refocus to survive as an organization. The constant evaluation of organizational performance includes leadership/management practices.
The most recent worldwide economic conditions have caused seismic shifts in business procedures and in organizational social structures that affect profitability, economic sustainability, and discretionary effort. Present day conditions demand that organizations look at the principles that guide their leadership teams to enable them to better navigate the complexity of their workplace culture amid the uncertainties of the global economic environment.
A current deterioration of business results may be attributed to changing market conditions or to the lack of innovation and the inability to compete with the improved products and services offered by competitors.
These may be factors in such a complex issue as market success, but we maintain the real culprit is failure to create an environment where discretionary effort is freely given by every employee on a daily basis.
As your leadership team evaluates your people practices that discourage discretionary effort, you may observe that some practices are outdated because they were designed from the implicit social contracts and hierarchal leadership of the 20th century. While these people policies worked at one time, most of them are declining in their effectiveness, especially with the new workers entering the workforce.
If the carrot or stick approach does not give you marketplace advantage, what does?
The hidden reality is that every system has built-in inefficiencies, and when leadership teams start looking to reduce wastefulness and ineffectiveness, they set countless improvements in motion.
Simultaneously with the discovery and elimination of inefficiencies, leaders can start the process of establishing a culture that earns the gift of discretionary effort from employees on a regular basis.
Discretionary effort is the key to 21st century productivity and economic sustainability. The gift of discretionary effort is built on valuing human dignity, creating safety and security, extending social acceptance, and rationally aligning each individual employee with company purposes.
My book, How to Earn the Gift of Discretionary Effort, available on Amazon, discusses the implementation of these strategies.
The book helps you examine your company’s people policies and guides you to create an organizational culture that enables employees to release their gifts of discretionary effort on a regular basis. This is accomplished by the implementation of the RossBrandau Discretionary Effort Leadership Model.
To learn more about how to implement a discretionary effort initiative in your organization, register for the free 30-webinar on May 11 at 12:00 Noon.