The year is about to end and as always I like to do a personal reflection of what happened and if things have changed throughout the year gone by. I suppose, like with reflections in history, I do this, so we don’t repeat the same mistakes…. As if! Even as I write, David Cameron is warning us that we have a difficult year ahead! As if we didn’t already know this….
The year 2010 started badly and I was certainly up to my knees in Rubbish and being filmed at every moment by the BBC. I’m joking here because this time last year I was working with the Refuse & Recycling Crews at BGCBC. It was a tough 5 months and even though the project continued well into the summer, it was without question, worth every minute of sacrifice. The crews are now running themselves and with a strange twist of fait I’m back working with them as after the Refuse project I moved onto after the Binmen, changed its product line to reuse scheme for the things we through away, and yep the Binmen were the best consultants in the business. Their advice and new mindset has been outstanding. So from one tough project of changing the Binmen minds, two new mindsets have resulted. Bonus!
It’s not been a totally great year though. Research from First Direct reveals almost 7m (28%) of workers have moved jobs in an attempt to find a better boss and improve their working environment which is a stark reminder to all those companies worried about loosing their talent. Forget the bonus schemes or free tea, get the leadership right and you will be a long way to being the best. So elusive is the perfect manager that more than 12% of workers have taken up a new career entirely in their search, while 5% have decided to leave the corporate world and set up a business by themselves. DNA Wales Research along with First Direct conformation clearly sees that when working under a manager doing traditional management, employees report a loss of motivation of on average 63% and productivity decreases by 30% best scenario and 90% worst, with one on average 29% of public sector workers and 22% of private taking "sickies" as an avoidance tactic to get away from managers nonsense (I added the nonsense bit in…).
The main key to all this year has been the frequent and heart breaking waste of talent in organisations. The key message here, as always is the utter failing of managers who are simply uninspiring.
The problem as I see it:
- They think management is the way forward
- They think they as managers they know best, and anyone who challenges them is trouble
- They fail to be accountable, blaming others or the 'system' for their actions
- They don’t trust the people they work with (even though they say they do!)
- They think risk, means trouble and therefore has to be removed
- They mistake fear with respect (Bullies tend to thrive on this)
- They don’t understand that their intellect is not as good as the combined people that work with them
- They forget that the people on the frontline add value, not cost, unlike most managers
- They think any idea from the shop floor, cannot be any good, as they’ve not thought of it first
- They also think problems have easy solutions
- And this maybe just a welsh thing, but managers here seem to dislike anyone who may have a better solution, idea, profile or energy, which ‘shows them up’ (or they think so)
One final thing from the First Direct (FD) research was the startling similarity in their results and our concerning the failure of managers to inspire the people. 88% according to FD, 92% according to ours, claim their manager is well simply ‘not inspiring’. Yet as I have commented on and proved now, in over 25 companies, leaders are the energy, which drive the people. If your manager(s) are uninspiring the can you imagine the impact this has on your company/service.
We have spent the year, driving the message home to more companies, managers than I care to remember and I have felt this year that the resistance to my message has begun to diminish. People of all sectors are starting to realise that there is another way. Its not the darkside, or chaos, or indeed ‘tree-hugging’ bollox, as one person stated 6 years ago. Its real, human, messy, fun but above all sustainable, but only if you have the respect from the people within.
I have come across both professionally as an academic, working in company and personally some awful managers/people. I am constantly amazed how devious, corrupt (in the ethic sense) and morally devoid some people are, but here again it’s the company or organisation that allowed this dreadful behaviour to be encouraged/promoted in the organisation. I would like to say here that these people will soon disappear, but even if this wish were true and there was a ‘God’ like figure for companies, organisations who would smite the evil souls, the damage for a lot of people has already happened.
So my work, with organisations has still a strong pull. I won’t be working for Glamorgan University any longer, which is another story for my book, but the work goes on.
There will be a new Institute of Social Innovation, Creativity and Change (ISICC). Based in company and driven by organisations for bottom-line impact (and here I don’t mean just profits).
My work with Monwel, e-Vale Service, a Social Enterprise for disabled workers will continue, and this has been one of those life changing projects for me, one I will be eternally grateful for, even though at times I thought it would never happen.
So my friends, colleagues and partners; I’m now going out for my off-road run, which I now do for the scenery rather than any times, or to beat last years stopwatch, so Happy New Year! And a VERY big thank you for all those who questioned, listened, thought, considered, helped and was there for me at my deepest, darkest moments. Without friends and certain people, who I know, have no idea they do it, energise and support me, I would not have had the success gained over the past year.