Certainly at an individual level, if you are passionate about the initiative/goal, yes absolutely… BUT….what if you are merely reporting to tick the box? Organisations are well known for making their staff inflate reports to appear better than they are for the sake of public perception.
A great example being the hot topic of gender diversity, having more women in senior/executive positions. Do we really need the government to mandate reporting in order for it to be taken seriously? Anything that is forced rather than engaged, is far from sustainable (productive). Informing and educating, builds a following, resulting in greater impact, through demonstrated action.
My take, if it’s an engrained habit, it’s demonstrated in all that you do and therefore does not require special attention. Informing and educating is key rather than creating all this hype around the need for more measures, to prove you are doing the right things on the surface. What really matters, is walking your talk each and every day, advocating your cause rather than showing off in an annual report.
Today’s leaders need to revisit their mass sacking, redundancy, downsizing or outsourcing plans to address the all-important question of ‘How are you going to maintain (little yet exceed) the same level of service, once you remove a large number of your workforce and/or a key person from your organisation?’
When are leaders going to wake up to the fact that multi-skilling alone will not solve this problem, as you create a workforce that struggles to meet expectations (customer needs) due to, in essence, being hired to undertake a number of roles, yet have accountability for neither. I would much rather pay for a service provider that does one thing very well than another that offers a number of services (product streams) to get you in the door, yet struggles to deliver on either.
Leaders which fail to ensure their communication plans address any workforce changes adequately so as to ensure access to knowledge, information and decision-making is clearly articulated (to those left to pick up the pieces), especially once a critical person is gone, will suffer as their customers go elsewhere and their bottom line plunges.
Instead of mass sacking leadership needs to step up to the plate and seriously address poor performance by being clear, transparent and accountable, rather than firing only to rehire. As multi-skilling does not deliver sustainable results due to the pressure of needing to wear more than one hat at the same time. Eventually you will put the wrong hat on. The level of catastrophe is not something I would want to weigh up as I do not have an entitlement to mess with someone’s life, nor should anyone else for that matter.
Rather than focusing on why a corporate initiative flunked (which is usually the result of one (or a combination) of the following: 1. Lack of financial resources or 2. Lack of commitment/engagement to make it happen in the first place), why not shift our focus on holding Boards and/or Executives accountable for changing the language in which strategy is defined as something that the Boards and/or Executives are accountable for (by demanding regular reporting on robust strategic engagement at all levels within an organisation) as its not enough to just sign-off on budgets and strategic initiatives, then hand ball over to middle management to implement. Boards and Executives continue to make the fatal mistake of failing to engage their worker ants…the middle management that make any change possible due to their visibility/exposure as well as interaction between the top and bottom levels of an organisation.
This lack of engagement from the onset leads to lack of empowerment, and a lack of feeling like they are part of the business. Since the strategic focus becomes the business plan it’s not just a nice to have. Organisations need to shift the old mentality of ‘strategy is an airy fairy discussion’….let’s focus on the real job….. the day to day operations…delivering short-term results, etc. Understanding an organisation’s business strategy is a core and vital process for all involved, in order to ensure its viability. The language used to define it within organisations must shift, it’s not something that is delegated to Boards alone…it is everyone’s responsibility to understand it and help drive it for the long-term.