Recently I published a post in which I listed simple ways of making organizations smarter. I also promised to follow through and elaborate, albeit briefly, about each bullet point.
In this follow up post, I will relate to weeding out slogans and focus on creating focus.
Weeding Out Slogans
Slogans are repeated statements that are hammered into employee’s heads, and when the rubber hits the road, they do not match reality. They confuse, create cynicism, mistrust and alienation. They also make management into laughing stocks.
If a company puts “customer service” on its flag, but each agent needs to open 5 screens per call to give an appropriate answer (on slow servers, to boot) then there is no customer service.
If a company supports “human rights” but sells to Russia, they don’t support human rights. If they support work life balance and expect answers to emails in the evening, they do not support work life balance.
If the Dutch company which constantly promotes diversity doesn’t have a senior manager without a “van” in his name, then diversity is a slogan.
If your company states that every employee must “take ownership” but places a ton of bureaucracy on the way to solving problems such as lengthy purchasing processes, then taking of ownership is a slogan.
When a company eliminates slogans until they practice what they preach, they cannot blow smoke up their own bum about their real beliefs. Sales, HR and senior management teams are very prone to double talk. You would be very surprised at how hard it is to eliminate slogans.
There is air pollution; there is water pollution and there is priority pollution, the later being where everything (nothing) is really truly important when the rubber hits the road.
Only via creating focus, one creates the chance to succeed, and not blame conflicting priorities for pleasing none of the people none of the time.
And I cannot make this clear enough. If there is not enough focus, there is failure. True there may be interim achievements, but poor focus ends up in a shitty culture and failure.
Btw, poor focus is often enabled by phenomena such as “I sent you an email that’s it’s top priority”. Creating focus is not rocket science. It’s easy-but companies don’t like to do it.
I shall follow thru with more elaboration of the original post in the next few weeks.