“We’re all in this together” – make this a core corporate value
‘We’re all in this together!’ – instead of leaders and managers falling back on this phrase and rhetoric when it suits them, they should use it as the core corporate value, and live the core value every day.
Share responsibility for success with your workforce rather than telling them what to do
Sharing responsibility means not telling people what to do but ensuring that everyone feels personally accountable for the future success of the organisation. Leaders and managers will continue to be held to account for the delivery of the organisation’s purpose, by Boards, Shareholders, Government, Companies House, HMRC and other relevant regulatory bodies. But, instead of leading from the front, they are in the midst of their workforce (and their clients), nurturing, encouraging and constantly engaging with everyone about everything.
Listen to what your workforce and your clients have to say and act accordingly
Most decisions in organisations are adaptive – they address challenges for which solutions are speculative. They require as much intelligence as possible to arrive at the least speculative outcome.
Listen to what the workforce has to say; listen to what clients have to say. Act on what is being said.
Make the purpose of the organisation very clear to everyone
Be very clear about the purpose of the organisation. If possible try to arrive at as succinct a definition of purpose that is possible so that everyone can talk with pride about the purpose with friends. If the purpose is only to make money, this stands the least chance of facilitating a shared responsibility for future success. Most young people are looking for a cause to follow. Make your organisation a cause they wish to join.
Make sure that everyone understands how their job contributes to the organisation’s purpose and success
Make sure that every job is linked to the organisation purpose, and that the job holder understands completely how his or her job contributes to purpose and future success.
Encourage and value everyone’s thoughts and contributions
Make sure that everyone is encouraged in making unsolicited but valid observations about any aspect of the organisation, and that the observations are acted upon.
Put the workforce at the centre of the organisation and let everyone know that’s where it stands
Make sure that in your organisation everyone understands that the workforce is at the centre of everything, that the products and services have to be at the highest possible quality and standard, and that the customer/client/patient and their needs and complete satisfaction comes next.
Be open, transparent, cultivate your workforce
Sharing responsibility is about being open, transparent, cultivating the workforce, seeking independent observations from individuals about how to improve the organisation and its processes, and responding to what is being said. There are very few leaders and managers who have more insight into how to make the future more successful than members of their workforce. Many leaders and managers come from the workforce in any event.
Know your cultural values
Try to have cultural values that reflect the sharing responsibility ethos. This can be achieved by finding out the cultural values of the workforce and using the results by clustering together the most commonly expressed values and translating them into corporate speak. Values are drivers. They are not the ‘nice to haves’. They are not aspirational; they are todays’ values, and tomorrows, and the next days and so on.
Use your cultural values
Try to ensure the cultural values are used daily to drive the organisation to future success. The values could be used as agenda items for workforce/manager meetings to ensure they are embedded and used as the basis for approaching adaptive decision making. They could be used as the basis of an approach to customer service. They should be used by everyone everywhere in the organisation.
Create a working environment that allows the workforce to perform at their peak
Try to embed an understanding that performance depends on individual capacity to concentrate on tasks needing and expected to be performed. Most people can concentrate for only so long without a break. Taking brief breaks helps concentration. So, too, does the elimination of interference.
Challenge your workforce
Create challenges for the workforce to address. Try to ensure that the workforce can rise to the challenges and fully engage in meeting them.
Really talk to your workforce
Communicate with the workforce constantly. This means expecting a response to the communication, and then responding to the response. Try to avoid broadcasting as the only means of communication. Newsletters are great, but if they are the only form of communication they hardly equate with the ethos of sharing responsibility for future success.
Foster citizenship and kinship
Foster the idea of citizenship and kinship – a feeling that everyone ‘is in this together’. Act with intelligent kindness towards others. Create a sense of ownership, where everyone shares the responsibility for future success.