Organizations from all sectors, of all sizes, all over the world are facing very tough challenges. We are in the midst of a crisis. Most managers and professionals, whether in business, government, educational, or non-profit organizations are facing enormous pressure to produce more with less, much less. This requires tough, decisive action and the risks are high.
The tendency of those with management responsibility is to personally assess the situation, come up with a plan of action, and then announce and implement it. If that means downsizing or layoffs, so be it. That particular solution may be necessary in some cases, but in many cases, I find that such “solutions” developed independently, in isolation, and at the top, often create more problems that they solve – for one basic reason. They fail to involve people in the problem, and therefore, fail to get their best thinking and commitment.
In fact, I believe this principle: involve people in the problem and work out the solution together to be a business imperative. This is no soft, touchy-feely, lose-win approach for organizations; it takes much more courage and toughness to go for a true win-win.
The opportunity today is to get authentic and real with people—to have open conversations, to look at the problems and honestly share the issues at hand—and then listen to people and let their ideas flow. When mutual understanding and respect is present, the spirit of synergy inevitably starts to develop. Synergy is always exciting and tenuous because you are never quite sure what it’s going lead to. All you know is that it’s going to be better than before, better than what either party could come up with themselves.
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