- Who & Why?
All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘employees’
I went to my 6am spin class this morning. I do my best to show up every Monday. We have two fans in the spin room- one in front and one in back. Many people love working out with the fan right on them to cool them down. Many of us (me included) don’t like the cold wind/breeze on us. It dries out my eyes and I can’t catch my breath as I ride.
So many instructors have a rule: if you want the fan on you, then go sit in the back part of the room because the fan in the front of the room does not get turned on. Those of us who don’t want the fan on us, sit up front.
Today there was a new person in class. He sat right next to me up front. Ten minutes into class, he got up and turned on…the front fan! You got it, that’s a no-no.
However, this particular instructor does NOT have a “fan rule” for her class. Every once in a while an argument flares up- like this morning- over whether the fan should be on or not. If she just had a fan rule, then the students wouldn’t have to be making one up for her. It’s not our job, or our right, to do so.
What does all this have to do with your impact at work and in your entire life?
Courageous brands win. Having courage means being able to increase your level of “confront” and set rules and boundaries. Having courage means looking me in the eye with kindness and a sheer sense of calm and peace and stating your opinion and needs and….fan rules.
In so many corporations when this level of courageous confront does NOT happen, what happens is chaos.
I’ve seen so many managers not be able to set boundaries or rules. Nor do they enforce them. It’s natural for us to all want to be loved and accepted. The problem is the result is often not love. When we don’t increase our confront, it leads to confusion and poor communication in the workplace. The result is low productivity and low revenues.
Believe it or not, people like rules. We just don’t like it when the rules are shoved down our throat. So courageous brands also communicate in a 1) kind and 1) direct manner. Communicating without kindness, and just being direct, is being brash. No one loves a brash brand.
So stop and ask yourself:
- How do you communicate at work? Is it kind and direct?
- How do you work to ensure your level of confront is high enough so that you have quality boundaries such that you are allowing you and your colleagues to be productive, happy and in excellent communication at work?
I can’t tell you how often I used to think about fleeing the nest when I was a practicing lawyer. Especially towards the end of my career.
It’s not like I was suicidal (that’s a very serious topic that needs to get addressed immediately).
I just couldn’t do “it” anymore. I couldn’t draft one more document, I couldn’t listen to one more colleague complain or hear another superior of mine pretend to manage and lead us. It became maddening.
Towards the end, I had many days when I really had to drum up the motivation to not roll over and go back to bed. I knew I wasn’t officially depressed because I would lay in bed and dream of going to the gym all day, instead of to work –ahhh, how much more fun and productive that would be!!
Sound familiar? Maybe not to you. However, maybe your employees or colleagues are thinking so.
I can’t tell you how often we get calls from management letting us know that they fear employees will leave. While attrition is natural and necessary, if you start to see a pattern, you’ve got a problem. For example, is it mostly women that are leaving? Or is it mostly a particular department’s employees that are leaving?
No matter what the reason or where, one thing is for sure in my world: addressing attrition head-on is your only solution. How?
In my world, we do it by developing the brands for each individual employee- either in a group or one-on-one. Why?
As humans, we want to make a difference and drive the ball forward somehow in our lives. When we do, we roll up our sleeves and start contributing to the overall goal. This gives us energy and purpose to keep going. When we don’t know who we are or why we should show up at work, then the game is over. If I don’t think there is anything interesting about me, then why would I go to work each day?
Thinking back, that’s why I couldn’t get up each morning at the end of my legal career. I just didn’t know what purpose I served anymore as a lawyer. I was lost.
My solution is about facilitating the process so each employee has a brand: a) knows their values, b) how to bring their values to work, and c) how to sync up their values with their employer’s values. This is the start of the brand development process.
What does this mean for you? Stop and think for yourself:
- Why do you get up and go to work each day?
- What purpose do you serve at work?
- What are your values?
- Are your values synced up with that of your employer/company/business? If so, how? If not, why?
Within organizations the one thing you can count on is change. Change is inevitable.
It comes often and is often painful. In the branding world, change is an indicator of brand flexibility: brands that go with change, evolve and survive to thrive. Brands that don’t bend with the wind, die out.
What kind of changes are we talking about? Such changes include a) reorganizational changes of any kind, like changes in management, buy-outs, downsizing due to economic factors or due to innovation b) technological changes leading to obsolescence c) pure economy dictated changes.
What do all these changes involve? Employees. Your best advantage and greatest asset- your talent pool.
Here’s the problem: The 2013 Gallup State of the Global Workplace report found that only 13% of employees are engaged at work. Engagement equals productivity.
So what are the hurdles to employee engagement and productivity due to change? Here’s what I’ve found happens when there is any internal change- and there will always be internal change:
- There is a fundamental shift in brand values due to change in management- often this is accompanied by mass confusion, often subconscious, among the employee pool. Why? Read on.
- There is no focus on the notion of building the “internal” brand first- since the brand of the employees/agents is behind the company brand and comes first, it pays to develop the employee brand first- this involves direct communication to the employees and inclusion of the employees in the brand value process. Leadership must engage employees in the exercise of discovering their values that coincide with the shift in brand values of the new management.
- There is a strong possibility that employees/agents go rogue and drift away from the corporate brand representation.
So what is management supposed to do about this? The first step is that “management” needs to stop thinking like “management” and start thinking like “leadership”. This means first and foremost having conscious awareness that a shift has occurred. This shift may not be well understood or accepted by your employees.
Next, leadership needs to take steps to make sure the brand values shift is a) communicated well and b) open to revision by employees c) based on the ability to have the employees develop their own brand values and contribute to the new direction of the company’s brand. This is where I come in to assist the leadership team.
What happens if management does not become leadership and apply these steps? From my experience, the best that can happen is employees leave the company. The worst that can happen is that employees stay, become disgruntled which in turn leads to apathy, lack of productivity, and low morale. All of this inevitably leads to a decline in profits.
So what does this mean for you?
If your organization is going through change, make sure you consider your employee brand values. They must be in sync with your organizational shifts and the brand value changes they bring. These changes must be communicated to your employees and your employees given the ability to participate in creating the evolved organizational brand culture.
Mergers and acquisitions are a topic from my previous career as an attorney. However, it applies to personal brand management just as well. We see the impact, first-hand, of what happens to the corporate brands when two entities merge as a result of an acquisition. It’s often times anything but pretty- for the companies involved and all the employees. I was recently interviewed on this topic. See the video below or click on the link http://http://vimeo.com/65261213.
In personal brand management, we are always looking at the two “C”s, clarity and consistency. When two companies merge, we find the clarity and consistency of the brands (both corporate and personal brands of the people) take a big hit.
I was having lunch recently with an employee who had witnessed his company be acquired by another. He was anything but happy by the new corporate brand. He felt completely lost and left out of his “new” company. He was telling me he felt like his voice no longer mattered- that the new company had forced their beliefs and procedures and entire brand philosophy on his acquired company. As a result, he was disillusioned and wondering how long he could take it anymore.
Personal brand management is about feeling unique, owning your uniqueness and communicating your best qualities with confidence to your target market. It is extremely hard to work somewhere when you think your company (and you) no longer matters. We find employees’ self-confidence and ability to express their unique qualities is eroded often to a point of no return. When the trust factor fails, productivity decreases and a quality personal brand fades fast.
The key is for management to have a solid brand consolidation plan post-mergers. This plan MUST include a personal brand management portion so that each employee understands: 1) the new corporate brand messaging and positioning and 2) their own personal brand so they can fit well within the new entity and produce results and be in harmony with other employees.