Some days it’s really, really fun to be an analyst. You get to talk to such interesting people – and it’s part of your day job. What could be better?
I had one of those situations this week when I had the pleasure of reconnecting with Vineet Nayar, the CEO of HCL Technologies. My colleague Deb Logan and I are exploring a concept we call socially conscious leadership. We are doing a series of interviews to probe the issue of authentic and community-connected leadership. To summarize scads of evidence, employee engagement is low. It’s been low for more than 50 years if you look at the survey data. The data also suggests a strong correlation between employee engagement and financial measures such as productivity and earnings per share. The more engaged employees are, the better the company performance is. But bringing about this engagement takes a new style of leader – one willing to guide into being a workplace characterized by trust, flexibility and choice.
What was so invigorating about our conversation with Mr. Nayar is the energy he is putting into creating a new organizational approach that puts employees at the center of its operation. When speaking with him, you hear his enthusiasm for creating an environment where employees encouraged to bring their “A Game” to work. And to do good for the communities they are a part of, both the internal company community and the community at large.
These are some of the lessons I took away from our conversation:
- Create positive dissatisfaction so the need to change is clear. Ongoing conversations are essential to engage with as many people as possible and explain any change. Paint the vision for what the organization is transforming into so employees see what’s in it for them and are assured the change is not a fad. It is important to have a consistent message about what the transformation is and why it is necessary. But more than just talk, managers need to demonstrate the change, to make some dangerous moves that indicate the will to change.
- Experiment to see what works. And keep experimenting. When embarking on transformation, it is not necessary to have all of the answers before taking the first step. In fact, when dealing with wicked problems such as organizational redesign in support of new business models, it is better to take action, observe the results and use this information to inform the next step. This type of radical transformation cannot be completely scripted ahead of time.
- Encourage employees to voice their concerns about what’s working and what is not. This provides the opportunity to solve problems when they are more manageable – before they get out of control. It also increases transparency and helps establish trusting relationships among employees and managers. This positive attitude is then carried into client relationships.
I would sum it up this way: every single employee is capable of doing poor, average or great work. Organizations that create an environment where people bring their creativity and passion to work will be rewarded. They will meet their business performance goals. And they will have fun doing it.
Yikes! Fun at work? Does that mean happy employees produce better results? We’ll leave that discussion for another blog.
Category: Change management Collaboration community Strategic Planning Tags: Change management, Collective, communities of practice, Community of practice, leadership, Organizational liquidity, Social networks