I’ve averaged 35 speeches a year for the last ten years. Most of my audiences have been comprised of executives. And if there is an overriding concern that they’ve voiced to me during these presentations it’s that employees aren’t as loyal as they used to be.
The executives give lots of reasons for this decline in loyalty. A bad work ethic. The desire to follow the money at the expense of any other consideration. The lack of commitment to company goals and objectives. The desire to stick it to the man (okay, that last one came from me).
That is why a poll a while ago that found that 61% of bosses were unhappy with their jobs is so interesting to me. Because to this blog-ster it clearly shows that the employees are simply following the lead of their bosses. They see the short-term focus and they are less inclined to go down with the ship when their bosses are the first ones diving into the lifeboats.
But it goes even deeper than that. The poll also asked for the primary reason that the executives were looking to move on. The top five were: 1. Lack of challenge/personal growth (20%); 2. Limited advancement opportunities (18%); 3. Compensation (13%); 4. Poor company culture (11%); and 5. Boss not a good match (10%). Sound familiar?
Maybe I’m showing my age here, but this reminds me of the old Mad Magazine cover where Alfred E. Newman is looking at the cover of Mad Magazine, that is looking in the cover of Mad Magazine, that is looking in the cover… Well you get the drift.
The executives are not only experiencing a crummy place to work, they are passing it along to the people who are below them. With gusto.
Crummy organizations don’t just happen. They are encouraged, supported and nourished. And with executives perfectly willing to take the big paycheck and corner office, but not willing to actually build a sustaining organization. That explains why most companies are a six cylinder engine that is, at best, running on a cylinder and a half.
One of my favorite sayings comes from Africa, “When the elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers.” So for all the talk of CEO perp walks and Sarbanes-Oxley, the bigger issue is not the greed and illegality—it’s the overall lack of anything approaching stewardship in today’s organization. Executives, before you blame your people, heal yourself first.
About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. If you have a question for Bob, contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org.