Certified Customer Service Leader Training Program
Sept 14-16, Minneapolis, MN
Contact us for more information.
Employee Involvement Association Annual Meeting
October 1-2, Indianapolis, IN
Quote to Remember
“We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”
–General Omar Nelson Bradley
Why Good Companies Fail — Tulips, Turnips and Organizational Change Strategies
Have you ever experienced this in your company? Company X celebrated their 20th anniversary this year. During those 20 years a lot of things have changed. Once a shining star in their industry, now the shine seemed to be fading fast.
The HR Director was the first person to bring up the problem. It seemed the executives were going in one direction and everyone else was moving in the opposite direction. During the past 12 months they implemented two realignments and laid off 20% of the workforce. Employees complained they were working the jobs of two people, and there was a lack of communication and a growing frustration and distrust of management. People reported the leadership direction appeared reactionary and disjointed. The HR Director tried to explain the problem to the President, but it became clear the meeting was not going anywhere.
When we entered the picture, I requested a meeting with the President. After I asked a few questions things became clear. He had been in his position for eight months and was brought in to turn things around. It seemed the harder he pushed the worse things became. His frustration was palpable. His executive leadership team was not working together and in fact, one of his executives was sabotaging the process. The combined frustration had caused him many sleepless nights, high blood pressure and was affecting his home life. If the company did not turn the corner soon they would ultimately face bankruptcy and disgrace.
Jim Collins’ latest book, “Why the Mighty Fall,” describes the five stages of decline this company was experiencing.
Stage 1: Hubris Born of Success
During this stage the company begins losing sight of the values and strategies that made it successful. Their success becomes a weakness and begins to eat away at their foundation and a feeling of “entitlement” permeates the organization.
Stage 2: Undisciplined Pursuit of More
The organization has the feeling they can do no wrong. They feel they are invincible and are blind to their incompetence. They expand into markets and make risky and undisciplined decisions to grow, purchase, expand and enter into areas they know little about or should be involved in.
Stage 3: Denial of Risk and Peril
As they enter this stage, warning signs and metrics begin to mount. Teamwork, communication and morale issues begin to surface. Despite the symptoms, they ignore reality and continue along the path of destruction.
Stage 4: Grasping for Salvation
At this stage, they are struggling and looking for a silver bullet solution to save them. Typical actions can include bringing in a new charismatic CEO, bold and daring new strategies, and new acquisitions and radical transformations. The clock is ticking and unless they get the right help at this stage, they have little chance of recovering.
Stage 5: Capitulation to Irrelevance and Death
So what do you do if you find yourself in this predicament? The good news is if you catch the decline in the early stages, then most companies can remedy the problem themselves. But when it has gone on for a lengthy amount of time, when the band-aids, silver bullet programs, and flavor de-jour have failed to work, then you may need outside assistance. The longer you wait, the more difficult the cure. It is similar to a patient who keeps experiencing a pain that never goes away. When they finally go the doctor the treatment ends up costing a lot more money in lost opportunities, time and inconvenience.
I have learned an “outsider” has a special ability to address and talk openly about business matters an “insider” cannot. The old proverb, “It is lonely at the top” is true. Executives can share things with me they will never share with others in the company. This position of trust is sacred and the objective and honest feedback is critical.
A couple of weeks later the executive team met offsite for a day long meeting. The executive team was comprised of intelligent, dedicated and motivated individuals. However, each individual had a completely different personality, values and an opinion on how to lead their company out of the mess. They were able to lay everything on the table—no holds barred. At the end of the offsite they had outlined a unified strategy, goals and action steps to move forward. Now after several months, the company has turned the corner and mostly everyone is pleased in the direction they are going.
If you are leader in your organization and want to discuss your particular predicament, feel free to give me a call. There is no charge and no obligation to speak to me.
CEO and “Captain of the Ship”
Greg Smith Becomes President of the Board of Directors, Mercy Heart Health Clinic
Chart Your Course International is proud to announce Greg Smith has been selected as the President of the Board of Directors of Mercy Heart Health Clinic.
Mercy Heart is a volunteer-based 501(c) (3) nonprofit Christian health center providing care for the uninsured in Rockdale County, Georgia. Mercy Heart is about ministry–caring for the medically uninsured in the community. Here at Mercy Heart, we have the privilege of doing that by providing medical, pharmacy, and dental care services.
Mercy Heart relies on volunteers be it doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, therapists, clerical and other personnel. We welcome expertise from all walks of life. They are financially supported through volunteers, grants and charitable donations of many gracious individuals, churches and organizations.
Join and Attend the Employee Involvement Association
EIA is an internationally recognized organization serving professional managers and administrators of employee involvement and suggestion programs for over 65 years by providing quality educational programs, publications, benchmarking and networking opportunities. Our members are leaders who are dedicated to building organizations that engage their employees, encouraging them to contribute to their organizations at many levels and in many ways.
Greg will be speaking at two sessions at the EIA Annual meeting in Indianapolis, IN at the Crowne Plaza Grand Hall and Conference Center, October 1-2.
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Last Chance to Order Our Leadership Series Workbooks
and Facilitator Kits at Regular Price
Sad, but true –There will be a significant price increase on our popular leadership program training materials effective September 1. If interested, order now before the price goes up.
2009 Job Satisfaction Survey Points to Major Workplace Issues
Chart Your Course International completed the 2009 Job Satisfaction Survey in July. The survey focused on how people felt about their jobs and their working environment during the economic downturn. Respondents were asked 13 questions relating to job frustration, trust, motivation, employee retention and communication in the workplace. Over 200 people responded to the online survey.
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