Listen to your people – One thing we can learn from the US election

Through this election what can we learn, from an organizational perspective? One clear point is to know your employees. Trump appears to have taken advantage of a simmering thread sewn throughout the fabric that is the United States. Few identified that thread or its need to be addressed.

Organizationally it begs the question: How well do you know your organization? What do your employees think and feel? Is there alignment, dissonance or what? Is there a thread you have not addressed that can impact meeting objectives?

The simple ask is to talk to them! The harder task and more important, listen to them, hear them and engage them. Too often senior executives think they have their thumb on the pulse only to find out the negative after an attempted new product / service launch or other change fails. And that lack of success is very costly to organizational energy &performance, competitiveness and stakeholder value.

Surprised election pollsters complained that people often lied about their voting preferences when surveyed so pollsters allotted some numeric quantity to take this “problem” into consideration. For organizations it is about sustaining a dialogue and an underlying level of trust in the ability of senior management and the organization as whole to execute with alignment.

I have served organizations that from start-up to one’s with a history of over 100 years. The reality is our level of active, honest, transparent and active dialogue is lacking.

On line surveys and assessments are nice as one of the sources of data to glean insight. Streamed videos for the large and vastly disbursed as a start to talking is just a start, not an end. And assuming employee’s managers communicate consistently what they heard from their managers (and so on), this communication is also a start as well.

As opposed to 330 million people, organizations have a smaller and more manageable task.
Get out there, meet and engage face to face. Do it way more than once, do it deeply, meaningfully, with clear measurable objectives and very clear communications messages and engagement plans. Else you too may lose to a not so silent thread.