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Why it’s worth listening to employees singing a different tune

We reward what we value.
This is true in our personal lives and it is also true in business. In large organizations, there is a trickle down approach to how mandates are communicated through the organization. There are guidelines and matrixes that buffer those evaluating performance from completely deviating from plan.
In smaller owner-managed and/ or remote/independent branches, the general manager or entrepreneur has a very direct influence on the culture of the operation. This is in most cases one of the main reasons entrepreneurs like to have their own business. They get to direct how it is to be run, what is to be valued and as a direct result what behaviors are to be rewarded.
There are a number of dangers in that.
You could end up surrounding yourself with “like minded” individuals and miss out on the opportunities that diversity offers. You can easily reward a behavior that in the long run could prove counter-productive; certain practices work well when an enterprise is small but as the number of employees increases they become difficult to contain. You can end up creating a bubble culture and forget to regularly do an internal and external environmental scanning.
An environmental scanning is akin to taking a temperature reading. Making sure you take the time to periodically evaluate your “SWOT”, strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, both internally and externally. Keeping up with your competition, attending professional association functions to stay in touch with the latest trends , keeping up to date with trade publications, salary surveys etc, are all easy and inexpensive ways to remain in touch.
An environment where talent is allowed to safely and confidently express their ideas without fear of ridicule or worse, negative consequences, will help you identify budding talent, peripheral skills and attributes that will assist in building a more robust skills arsenal during times of change. It will also help the organization to build trust, loyalty and potentially identify obstacles to competitive advantages.
There is safety in what we know and what we recognize. There is a certain type of validation that comes with it. It is, however, worth listening to those singing a different tune, learning how to value their contribution, properly evaluating their talent and rewarding their contribution. Many voices are always better than one, even if it simply leads you to re-examine your own approach and in the end come up with the same conclusion.
It is good to question, it is good to wonder, it is good to challenge. And it is up to the leadership to provide the proper conduits and platforms to make it a rewarding experience for all.

Carolina Billings

Carolina Billings

Carolina M. Billings is an executive with 15+ year’s leadership experience in the fields of Business Development, Human Resources and Finance. As CFO-CHRO of a multi-million business conglomerate, she performs a truly interdisciplinary role within a portfolio of diverse industries ranging from Supply Chain, Logistics & Distribution, Wealth Management, Furniture Import, Sales & Distribution as well as Interior Design. She champions leadership initiatives as well as empowering and coaching/mentoring others to lead. Developing a hybrid of Finance and Human Resources has enable her to become leading business partner. Her great ability to influence and engage others in the pursuit of goals and objectives makes her a true innovator and change agent. Carolina is currently pursuing her Masters in Interdisciplinary studies with Royal Roads University, She holds Graduate Certificates from Cornell University and Queen’s University in the fields of Change Management and Leadership. She is a Co-Active Professional coach currently doing her practicum towards Certification with ICF. She holds a CHRL designation and a High Honor’s HRM Graduate Certificate. Carolina is the founder of Big Fish Coaching a private practice specializing in personal leadership, career coaching, conflict resolutions and life change management.
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3 Comments » for Why it’s worth listening to employees singing a different tune
  1. Katie D says:

    I think the key is safe environment, getting employees to contribute gives you great insight not only on their potential but on their frame of mind and level of ownership of process.

  2. Luis A Gomez says:

    Good article. I have experienced how successful organization of similar minded individuals fail when industry changes for instance in the mobile computing industry in the last 5 years.

  3. Lorraine Gilks says:

    What struck me immediately is how often we equate good leadership with being in control (as in freak). When in fact we need to find a balance so that we don’t kill ourselves trying to control everyone and everything. Excessively contolling behaviours limit and suppress the creativity and expertise of our employees, and is terribly exhausting (for everyone) and counter-productive to building a successful business.

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