Monday, November 4, 2013

Body and Soul

I was on the phone with a client discussing some issues she is having with her employees. There was a big management change a couple of years ago after their owner/founder died. The employees she was referring to have been with the company for a long time and are not adjusting to the new expectations very well. The old company was very unstructured and loose with policies and procedures. The new company is more rigorous and has grown the business significantly. The employees are complaining about all the things the new company doesn't give them: they push back when they don't get their first choice of days off, they grumble when caught socializing instead of working. It made me think about the maturity of organizations.

The company is the body - made up of the products, services, equipment, brand image, etc.  The employees are the soul. The two have to be in synch. So just imagine a you have a coworker in a middle aged body who acts like a child - demanding, ungrateful and whiney. It wouldn't be appropriate and they wouldn't get far. In my client's case, they are in a maturing body still acting like children.

The reverse is true too. The soul cannot act too old either.  Imagine an 80 or 90 year company acting like an 85 year old man. One who misses the good old days. Who "doesn't get" technology or social media and who prefers land lines instead of mobile phones. In fact, a recent study done by recently reported that 68% of CEO’s have no presence on social media. That’s a big number and their own personal discomfort with it often influences their company policies and practices. Old school big time.

Have you thought about the age of your body and soul? Is your workforce acting with appropriate maturity? Of course, what's appropriate for you will be unique. The key is having organizational emotional intelligence: situational awareness combined with flexibility.  

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