Yeah. Ever felt like these guys? Ever had a boss like that Roman Senator....seated in the front, dressed well, freshly showered...smiling in his sense of arbitrary and complete power? Yeah.
No? Take this test at home and see. Warning: For some this may generate flashbacks. If that happens, just open your eyes and stop the video. Look away, too.
1. Close your eyes.
2. Now, play this 3-minute video.
3. Now, ask yourself:
Does this remind me of my workday?
Tom Rieger, author of Breaking the Fear Barrier: How Destroys Companies from the Inside Out and What to Do About It, was a guest on the radio show recently. You can listen to our conversation here.
During our conversation he talked about one client, a bank.
There’s one organization I dealt with, it was a bank. We first went into that operations center, it was a god-awful place. The only thing that was missing was someone sitting out in front in the room banging a drum and yelling:
But by the time we were done, there was energy, there were balloons, there was excitement and most important of all there was real progress on goals. There was a real jump in customer satisfaction. They had doubled their first-call resolution in the call-center.
You can do great things when you really unleash that human capital. And it’s that sort of thing I really am looking for.
What are some of those great things?
Molly Anderson, co-author of the Corporate Lattice: Achieving High Performance in the Changing World of Work, includes these statistics on corporate performance enhancements with rising levels of employee engagement:
- Earnings Per Share growth is 160% higher than competitors....
- Return on Assets is 100% higher...
- Revenue Growth is 150% higher...
- Profitability is 40% higher...
Those are some pretty good things...when you set people free in your organization.
Sadly, though, most companies choose fear and that drum-beat. According to Tom Rieger:
You know I’ve been working in organizational development since 1986 and I’ve never seen so much fear in the workplace. Fear is what leads to the types of behaviors we write about in the book.
We went out and did a study of 2600 US working adults and where they stood within these fear barriers. And what we found was shocking.
If we look at those we call ‘prisoners’ and ‘prisoners’ are somebody who is basically trapped. They have very little empowerment, very little freedom and very little time. They don’t have a lot of opportunities and their accountability is all subject to the whim of a manager. Startlingly, half, 1 out of 2, Americans fall into that category. And when that happens employee engagement just drops through the cellar...
On the other hand, when those barriers are removed employee engagement jumps up into the 87th percentile which makes it among the most engaged employees we have studied.
So...if you take the shackles off your employees, remove the fear and the barriers that arise from it, you and your company can do great things.
The scene in this video is from the epic movie Ben-Hur. Wanna know what happens? The ship sinks after being rammed by their enemy's ship( doncha love irony...?)
The slaves either drown or attack the Roman soldiers first and then drown. All except for Ben-Hur. He rescues the Roman Senator who had been calling out ramming speed with sadistic relish.
Art imitates life.
Companies that treat their employees like slaves suffer the same fates. Their only hope of rescue is from the generosity, the engagement, of their employees.
Something to think about in-between the drumbeats.
(Oh. Happy Labor Day.)