“Oh crystal ball, save us all, tell me life is beautiful, mirror mirror on the wall!”
British pop band, Keane penned this particular lyric, but it is a sentiment echoed by a great number of organizations. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to see what your organization really looks like with some perspective and take a peak into what the future might hold?
Is it possible to hold up a mirror to your business and glean insights that have some kind of predictive value?
I think it is.
We at Jobimplus have been using the Happiness at Work Survey for just over a year now and time after time are still astounded by the results. The survey really does reflect what a company truly looks like and as such has become an integral part of how we as organizational consultants approach a programme of positive change within businesses.
We think of a change management programme as having four pillars, that when lined up, inform how the future shapes out. The four pillars are:-
Intention is about how an entrepreneur looks at their organization. Are they exploiting it or exploring it? Then, it’s good to understand what perception an organization’s leader has of their business. Are they in touch with what is really happening at a day-to-day level?
Then comes the reality part: taking the Happiness at Work Survey to hold a mirror up and see what is really happening within an organization.
The most critical part of this whole process is what comes next; finding the inconsistencies between perception and reality, and in turn, addressing them. We find that within these inconsistencies also lies the key to a great predictive value.
To give an example, we recently had a client where the owner’s primary focus was on turn-over. Based on this objective, he was pretty satisfied with the way the business was shaping up too! As the company was in a process of change to become more commercial, all staff were obliged to take sales training and become more visible in the marketplace by attending network meetings and events.
Before we started the Happiness at Work Survey, we asked the owner what he expected the outcome to be. He was very certain that the specific question about ‘open culture’ would be one of the top three scores.
But that’s not at all what the mirror on the wall saw!
The ‘open culture’ question turned out to be the lowest scoring question of all, scoring only 4 out of 10! So the very first conclusion we were able to make was that there was a big gap between perception and reality.
Of course, this is dangerous place to be. On closer analysis, the reality of the new ‘turn-over’ focus was that employees no longer felt able to talk to the owner about what troubled them. The new targets put in place meant that cooperation went out of the window as each individual began to work only on their own personal success. In other words, by focusing so tightly on turn-over, the company’s owner had lost his grip in understanding his own staff.
Fortunately, the owner took the insights as a wake up call, and together with his employees defined a new goal, or ambition that was more closely aligned to a our pillars of intention, perception and reality. And almost a year on, the long-term future of our client is continuing to look a lot more positive!
Erik During Owner at Jobimpuls Organizational coach