As 2016 draws to a close. Here are three things that EVERY organization should take some time to evaluate at year end
A systemic problem in many organizations is a failure to communicate. Communication must be clear to all parties involved for an organization to truly thrive. Do all employees on your team feel as though they have clarity as to their role, the chain of command and care in your organization, and who to go to in case of an issue or question? Nothing can deflate employees’ morale more than a persistent lack of communication, expectations, or appreciation.
How to fix: A simple test to understand communication breakdowns would be for leaders in an organization to simply ask their employees how things are going on the communication end. Ask without expecting or defending any issues they communicate and make it clear there will not be repercussions for voicing their input. Sit and listen. It is only then that you can begin to dialogue and brainstorm how to fix the issues. Sometimes a weekly check in, updated job descriptions, and an organizational chart for employees can greatly help reduce the lack of communication and all the mess that comes with it.
Healthy organizations have a healthy work culture. This includes trust between co-workers, a clear understanding of vision, co-workers assuming the best of each other, direct communication when issues arise, and a true longing as a team to see their organization thrive.
When there is constant infighting, egos which are writing checks their work performance can’t cash, and eminent domain claimed by managers to establish their own little kingdoms, you have a broken work culture. When leaders are marked by humility, clarity, and conviction, others tend to follow. (See The Humble Hound).
How to fix: If you have a broken work culture, most likely you’ll see turnover at the highest and lowest levels. Exit interviews from leaders can prove to show where breakdown has happened and problem areas. If you are constantly hearing about issues with a particular leader/manager, it may be time to make some changes for the good of the company and the culture. Is it worth losing your best employees because you don’t want to stir the pot?
Another question to ask to employees is “what is the vision of the company?” If they can’t explain the vision in 20 seconds and/or you hear vastly different visions, you have a major vision leak. How can your team work together toward a shared vision if there is confusion on the purpose of the organization?
Not only financial costs are important to evaluate, but also the opportunity costs. Do you have dated and broken systems that are time consuming and bring about a lack of insight? Are your books a mess? Do you truly know where you are on the numbers behind the organization? Have you undertaken projects that you shouldn’t have? Does your organization have a consistent lack of planning? Have you hired any of the wrong people in management who can’t fulfill their roles?
Lack of clarity and lack of communication COSTS.
How to fix: Make a plan and follow it. Write down how you plan to change the culture and communication so that all are onboard with the vision. Reevaluating roles and making hard decisions now will benefit your organization in the long run.
Get your finances and systems in order. As a founder of an organization dedicated to helping businesses and nonprofits with finances, it’s worth paying to have a financial system that runs smoothly. This will create peace of mind and enable better decision making.
Leaders must be willing to own their shortcomings and contributions to breakdowns. Nothing communicates to others in an organization as much as humility, owning mistakes, and providing a clear and compelling vision forward.