Assessing Culture is Critical

We talk extensively in our next book about how leaders build a trusting culture.  This HBR article is also helpful in understanding what specific questions to ask today when you are interviewing for a job in order to assess an organization’s culture to determine if it is a good fit for you.

Aneil and I have both worked for leaders and companies where we thought we had found a good fit, only later to discover that the fit was not right for us.  We were blinded by either the job or the friend that hired us, only to find out that there were deeper issues at play that kept us from truly trusting that leader and that organization to not only have our best interests at heart, but our customers best interests at heart, too.

We all want to work at a place we can trust to be excellent, care for us and for its other stakeholders, but today, it is a complex proposition.  A recent MetLife survey shows employee loyalty at a seven-year low.  Employees are not loyal because they don’t feel that employers are loyal to them.  There is definitely a trust gap here.

How have you created a more trusting culture at your workplace?

Trust leads to loyalty

A new study out by the Tempkin Group confirms that when consumers trust a company, they are more likely to recommend them

As we have mentioned before, a consumer’s willingness to recommend your company is their utmost declaration of loyalty (per Reichheld).  When a customer puts his or her own reputation on the line and is willing to tell someone else about your company, then that is a true indication that they believe in your company and its reliability and competence.

You can see the top 10 trusted companies here.  #2 is a favorite of ours:  amazon.  I’m sure there is an amazon box on our doorstep at least twice a week, if not more.  We love amazon because we can get almost anything we need fast.  What do you love on that top 10 list?

Downsizing with Downsizing Employee Morale

Update 11-24-09:

I’ve been keeping track of a number of firms that have been downsizing for quite some time, and here is one snapshot. For more information, read on below.


Original Post 10-14-09:

The French business magazine, Business Digest, recently interviewed us as part of their profile of publication this spring in the MIT Sloan Management Review.  We were able to elaborate on our study and provide additional information not available in our original article.  Here is an excerpt from the Business Digest article:

In the face of a downturn, many companies turn to downsizing to cut costs. Yet, they often fail to achieve the expected payoffs, and in some cases, they end up worse off than they started. According to Aneil K. Mishra and his co-authors, downsizing doesn’t have to spell corporate disaster. When companies increase flexibility, innovation, and communication, they can emerge stronger, faster, and smarter.

“When leaders use open, empathetic communication (that is, they listen to employees with an open mind and try to understand their thoughts and feelings) and are clear about how the organization needs to improve, employees will feel ‘heard,’” says Karen Mishra. This in turn fosters trust, empowerment, and innovative behavior.  A.Mishra explains, “When people have the necessary information to make informed decisions, they will start to say, ‘How can we get better?’ The only way they’re going to [get better] is by being flexible and innovative—because they’re typically not going to get new resources.” And, Gretchen Spreitzer adds,
“Flexibility and innovation also encourage empowerment because they allow the possibility of new ways of doing things—not just one way—the bosses’ way.”

For a copy of the full article in French or in English, please go here, or contact us.


Starbucks: What’s Wrong with This Picture?

I rarely if ever write about the same company again in such a short period of time, but I decided to do so out of frustration or irritation (a typical motivation for my posts), this time with the newfangled chewing gum container that Starbucks has introduced.

Starbucks Gum

Other than the obvious fuzziness of the picture (my new Blackberry Bold apparently doesn’t do a great job of macro/close-up pictures), you’ll notice that the metal container is bent sharply.  I bent it a bit more for dramatic effect, but I did have trouble opening it this morning because I assumed that the top flipped open as did all previous Starbucks gum containers.  The two hinges on the side did not open up easily, and after I’d bent it a bit I managed to get some of the gum pieces out.  It was only then that I realized that the top slides open rather than flips open (I’m not a morning person, and so I was a bit slow).

Starbucks previous gum package and gum were fine, although Trident White’s flavor lasts longer.  So why did Starbucks have to mess with its packaging without letting me know how the new package works?