In business, when
we talk about change we associate it with change in form, in things we can
measure, and ultimately with monetary value. But change is much more than that.
It is also a result of our thinking and emotions – put them together and they
turn into a change in feelings and consequently our behaviour. This
unnoticeable and unreported ‘stuff’ makes a shift in the way we
perceive and do things – ultimately creating the culture of either fear or love that
leads to business success or failure.
When fear prevails,
things we are asked to do are passively accepted, we are not up to making improvements. We do the job just to secure the flow of income.
There are people
who perform better when driven by fear, but there is always a question whether
their efforts are leaning more toward their personal or company’s interests.
often refuse to see that by working for organisations which nourish the culture
of fear, we may lose that job anyway because the chances are that this company
cannot last long, at least not in its current form.
When a culture of connectedness, shared knowledge, and clarity of common purpose prevails, we enjoy what we do, freely exchange ideas, communicate more effectively, better understand and appreciate the work of others, bring new value into the business, and feel like appreciated contributors. This kind of culture has been proven to bring business prosperity in good and bad times.
But why is this kind of culture so rare?
Culture is a complex issue. It is built by people who lead the company. Apart from ensuring safe and efficient operations, leaders are involved in making strategic decisions and overseeing the management of the company's finances and operations for which they are supported by traditional measures. In addition, they are also responsible for creating a positive work environment for employees and providing high-quality service to customers. The problem is that these are intangibles that don’t fit into the linear structures of company reports and so keep this side of their responsibility out of sight.
Of course, leaders dream of brighter futures, but somewhere things get stuck. Is it a fear that they might lose their way if they try something new? Is it possible that the fear of failure is greater than the hope for the future?
Whatever the reason, it doesn’t need to be so. The opportunities are there and will show up the moment leaders are ready to face reality and start to believe in the wisdom of people that are closest to work.