23 April 2009

Survive in Hard Time - Connect with your people

Assume the following scenario in 22-Apr-2009. "We are now in tough times and this is the right time for us to optimize and so we are going with cost cutting. We cannot afford to be complacent and we will emerge strong post recession. The time we invest, the strategy we chalk out and its execution will decide whether we will emerge stronger". Just fast forward your time machine. Can you guess what they will say once they economy recovers (and if they exist).

You are in 22-Apr-2012 and again you hear the same voice. "We emerged strong, we did something which is innovative and it made us to be here. We are ahead of the competition". I believe, most of the corporates, if not all of them, will be on top of the world and beat drums that their strategy worked. In a real sense? No, says many professors at famous business schools. They say that most organizations ride the waves because of either of two things - Co-incidence or luck. They just happened to be there with probably a strong balance sheets, they were able to withstand the recession and as expected post recession, the economy booms and they start to build their balance sheet again. Their profits erode in recession and booms when the economy comes to normalcy. This is how most corporates work.

Then what the heck that this strategy does. Why often leaders confuse their people about strategy. Why dont they be meaningful? How to thrive well in recession. It is fairly simple, "deliver more for less". How can you make it? Just connect with you people and make them understand your perspective. The employees may think that why the hell he/she needs to deliver "more for less" unless one gives the perspective. It is imperative that leaders, irrespective your designation, interact with people (not just CEO, VPs). Connecting is quite different from forwarding emails, connecting is quite different from a monologue. When you try to connect with people, the first thing you got to do is understand their problems, respect their opinions, reject their opinions with due dignity and above all have guts to take blame and do not shy away.

One thing that managers keep telling their people is communication and bringing up the issue at right time and with due sensitivity. Isn't it not important to connect with people when their morale is down or when their life is at stake? It makes sense even in good times but it makes more sense in difficult times.

When you do that, your people will automatically deliver more and you will also leave a legacy.

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