Sum of Employee Behavior = Corporate Performance

Organizational analysis looks at businesses as whole entities—possibly shortchanging a closer look at the parts. Broad strokes of corporate mission, value statements, and strategic planning outline how the organization should conduct itself. It may be time to add a more granular level of scrutiny … looking at how individual employee behavior affects a business.

We live in a time of instant information—a form of global feedback. Just in the last few months we have seen literally hundreds of business leaders, political leaders, sports people, media artists—whose harmful personal conduct toward others was exposed. The public reaction was overwhelming, powerful, and negative—in that reputations were ruined, and careers were ended.

Some of the unintended consequences of technology innovation and social media, are seen in the alterations of human interaction, such as increased confrontation, and a decline of interpersonal courtesy. These are the new realities that affect the cultures of small and large businesses.

In a small business, any individual employee action has a greater magnitude of potential impact compared to a larger business. In a group of 10, one person stands out more than in a group of 200. The actions of each employee affect the health and growth of the business.

With increasing social challenges, there are also opportunities. A business can differentiate itself by transforming potential negatives of human behavior—into systems of positive change.

A business may need to offer additional training and development time. That may include information and facilitation about ethics and moral actions. It may be programs to build skills in the “soft” areas of communication, interpersonal dynamics, and problem solving.

Adding human performance coaching as an employee benefit, could increase individual awareness. Coaching can build individual strengths, increase emotional, social, and conversational intelligence. All of these can dramatically improve organizational well-being.

If this appears to the reader as overly moralizing or overstepping the bounds of management—there is a larger cultural sea change occurring. Awareness has been raised about how human beings should act toward each other. Business cultures that violate these evolving expectations could realize negative financial consequences.

It is not a “high bar” for a business to take a stand against harassment or bullying. Policies should outline how employees should treat each other—and particularly how to interact with customers.

The correlation between strong business cultures, and positive business performance is known and statistically proven. Leaders, managers, supervisors, and employees who conduct themselves from principles and character will serve a business well. Over the long run, investing in human assets will have a positive financial payoff.

THE PROCESS CORNER – Change is a Journey, Not a Destination

There are many famous quotations dealing with change. Change is inevitable, like death and taxes. Change is challenging for most of us to embrace. Most of us prefer our lives to have certainty and predictability, with a comfortable routineness. Often unknown to us, we are creatures of habit.  

Change is frequently linked to acceptance, but few of these quotations link it to a process that makes its outcome more efficient and desirable. In our personal lives – and as importantly in our professional lives – we need to acknowledge that change is necessary.

For the betterment of our personal and professional lives – we must acknowledge that change is necessary. We know change is hard, but paradoxically we seek easy processes to make our lives better.

The premise of this post is that individual and organizational change is a journey that is never-ending. It isn’t a destination that you arrive at and it is done. Rather, change occurs constantly, and individuals and organizations can: (1) ignore the external forces that impact them, or they can (2) embrace those external forces, and seek alternative solutions to achieve organizational success.  

We recommend an initial AWARENESS PHASE that identifies Problems (we call them Gaps), the Drivers of your Business (Financial, ROI, Cultural, Customers, etc.), Resources (dollars, time, talent – internal and external), and your Priorities based upon company goals and objectives.

Then you move into an ACTION PHASE where you expand Awareness, to Assess, Analyze, and Plan for specific initiatives. As plans are finalized and vetted, select a champion to lead each initiative. A project or initiative champion is key to overall accountability and success – to implement specific metrics and explicit schedules, and mark milestone progress along your Roadmap.

Although somewhat a misnomer, the “final” step is the ACHIEVEMENT PHASE. Certainly, there must be achievement, but it is an incremental signpost on the journey to the organization’s long-term goals and objectives.

Celebrate signpost achievements, but continue the process to adjust to each new change. Create new Awareness, new Action plans, and set new Achievement goals and objectives. Change management is a process. Scale it to your market and organization. Keep it simple. Get outside help if the expertise and resources are missing inside your organization.