Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Million-dollar word: good or bad

Listening – particularly to the people in the organization – can be worth millions. It can provide valuable information and can boost support and morale. But it is only the key that unlocks the door; someone still has to actually open the door. While usually helpful, the process can also be destructive – a couple of examples.

Example one: A large chain has an open door policy. Personnel may address the regional director without negative consequence. That is an excellent policy. However, the organization does not take the next step of responding to the information.

Example two: an organization decided to espouse an idea, provided information to the staff about the new changes, then operated as usual.

The success formula is: Ask →Listen → Respond.

That does not necessarily mean you must do.  It does mean you will acknowledge and implement the ideas and recommendations where possible and where they will prove productive.

Appropriate ideas should be brought up in staff meetings and the originator acknowledged. Where appropriate, a committee can be formed to examine the idea and report back to the group with possible action recommendations. Put the idea originator as the chair of the committee.– even if it is a clerk, a checker, a stock boy. This will have a profound affect on the personnel. Do review with your associates prior to the implementation of this proposed process so they know what to expect.

As I observe different organizations, I hear words like “team” or “crew,” or “associates.” Some are real and some are not. If yours is one of those, make it real.

(For a suggested process, see: Wrong Bottom Line Still: Critical Components, change activity 25, page 128).