Being a leader is tough these days.
You can’t turn on the television, open a paper or sign onto the Internet without being pummeled by a dose of economic bad news. No matter how strongly you believe in your company and your ability to guide it through the rocky shoals lurking up ahead you can’t help worrying a little. Good news: There is something you can do to fortify your company for the future. Quite simply, you must create and nurture an organizational culture that develops great leaders today and instills the mindset that will foster great leadership tomorrow. That does-n’t happen overnight, but there are steps you can take right now that will yield quick wins and get your organization on the right path. In this excerpt from Quint Studer’s recent article, “Thrive in Tough Times: 11 Simple Steps You Can Take to Fortify Your Company for the Long Road Ahead,” you can find five fast tips to get started.Create a get-through-the-recession plan.
Go through your business plan with a fine-tooth comb. Does it still make sense? Figure out which objectives you are meeting, which ones need more emphasis and which ones you should rethink.
Communicate your plan to all employees. If your front-line employees don’t know you have a get-through-the-recession plan, you don’t have a get-through-the-recession plan.Get your whole company started on a candy-coat diet.
In other words, quit candy-coating the truth, no matter how scary it seems. Address the tough issues with straight talk and transparency and make sure your leaders do the same. Chronic secretive behavior and lots of behind-closed-door meetings harm morale in any economy. Put words in your supervisors’ mouths.
Let’s say Worker Walt approaches Manager Mike to ask if the rumor he heard that the Duluth division is on the verge of closing down is true. Mike responds with a deer-in-the-headlights stare and a vague stammered comment that the company is doing its best to avoid any closings. (He knows the Duluth shutdown is off the table but isn’t sure how much he can say.) Walt draws his own (grim) conclusions and starts spreading the bad news.
You can prevent these kinds of misunderstandings by telling managers exactly what to say by writing a script of sorts so that everyone is speaking in the same voice.Make your company a place top performers want to be. (Raises not required!)
You can offer your people perks that don’t cost the company a lot of money. Think about ways you can make their lives easier flextime, partial work-from-home schedules (much appreciated in these times of exorbitant gas prices), access to a chore runner and implement them. You might give them access to the company’s CPA or financial planner, so even if you can’t provide bigger paychecks, you can help them manage their expenses a little better. Shine a 1,000-watt spotlight on customer service.
The operating environment changes so rapidly that all organizations become obsolete if they are not continually renewing themselves. That process of continual renewal requires participation by everyone in the organization. ... Participation means that everyone has a ‘voice,’ that is, the right to be heard in an unimpeded process. That process is at the heart of a ‘culture of candor.’
SPECIAL AUDIO CONFERENCE OFFER: Soundview Executive Book Summaries will host a 90-minute interactive audio conference with Quint Studer as part of the Beyond the Books series at 1:00 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday, Sept. 24. To sign your company up for a live connection to this conference so your managers can hear Studer’s advice firsthand, call (800) 775-7654; mention Smart Business to earn a special discount or go to www.sbnonline.com/studer.