It always amazes me how many business leaders believe they have a pulse on their organizations yet they never stop and ask their people how they’re actually doing. That’s a pretty self-centric way of looking at the world – and your organization – if you ask me. It is so common though for organizational leaders to think they know what’s going on that it’s actually kind of funny.
I would offer that part of this dynamic is that self-centric point of view many leaders have as they get wrapped up in their own stories and ideas. With that said, many leaders deserve a little more credit than that because they only know what their people tell them. And if their people aren’t telling them the whole story, then it makes perfect sense that they wouldn’t have an accurate read on how their organizations are doing!
It takes a powerful organizational culture with great leadership at the top to realize that an employee’s experience has a significant impact on how he or she performs at work. Over the years, I’ve come to call this “discretionary performance”. Companies pay their employees, and therefore they show up at work. Who shows up at work though – someone who gives it their all or someone who punches the clock and goes home as fast as he or she can – is up to the discretion of that employee. My goal as a leader and especially as a leadership coach is to inspire all of our employees to commit this extra discretionary performance every day at work.
One way to ensure that everyone is contributing this discretionary performance is to conduct an organizational assessment. Ask your employees what’s working well and what could be improved to enhance organizational performance. It’s not a complicated process – or question for that matter. It simply requires a leader’s commitment to listen to what he or she doesn’t currently know and what his or her employees won’t otherwise share on their own without being asked.
If you’re an organizational leader and you’re ready to begin listening to your employees, feel free to visit the Organizational Assessment page of Plus Delta’s website. We have a proven approach for conducting rapid organizational assessments that may help facilitate your efforts and would be happy to talk through it with you if you’d like some support.