Lately, I've received a lot of emails from people who are worried about the unpredictability of today’s business culture. Employees simply can’t stomach the constant swinging from one direction to another. They dislike being forced to change priorities every five minutes and want to be able to set long-term goals that will benefit both the organization and their own careers.
The advice I offer in response involves learning to be more comfortable with uncertainty and staving off worry by considering how they'll cope with the worst-case scenario. Some change is healthy, I suggest, and if their organizations don’t continuously evolve, they'll eventually die.
Hearing from all these miserable people has given me pause, however. Perhaps the current business climate has become too volatile. Employees who don’t know what the next day will bring can't maintain productive focus, and organizations that are constantly taking two steps forward and two steps back can't grow to their full potential.
While business owners should constantly be looking for new ways to innovate, they should also consider how they can promote greater stability in their cultures in order to provide their employees with a blueprint for getting things done. Here are five places to start:
1. Create a Relevant, Long-Term Mission
Your entire senior management team should be involved in creating a big picture mission that is universally agreed upon and can be easily communicated from the top down. This mission should relate to ongoing goals and objectives, and efforts should be taken to ensure that employees understand how their roles fit into the mission and how their performance will be measured. You should use your mission as a starting point to talk straight with employees about your expectations for them, and it should be periodically refined and emphasized so your business stays the course.
2. Beware of Too Many Initiatives
When there are a lot of idea people in the house, it’s tempting to jump on the initiative bandwagon: The market needs this, our employees need that … hey, let’s launch a new program! But think carefully before starting something new that takes focus away from your overarching mission and requires loads of employee effort to get off the ground. While creativity is invigorating and can lead you in new and profitable directions, change for the sake of change is not productive.
Check out the rest of the post at the AMEX Open Forum.