The trend is clear. To succeed in the 21st Century the role of management is to get out of the way of letting employees do great work. For managers to feel comfortable with “getting out of the way” the key is a high-level of trust in management and among employees, which opens the lock of a strong culture of innovation and collaboration.
Vineet Nayar writes in The Harvard Business Review: All too often, companies take employees — the lifeblood of every organization — for granted, and the hype surrounding their leaders overshadows the work that employees do. Almost everyone is an employee — be it the President, a cop, or the cable guy.
Together, employees have the power to find innovative solutions to the many problems we face. Yet, we prefer to wait for a superhero to change the world with the wave of a magic wand.
Let’s not fool ourselves; employees are at the core of every game-changing idea. They have built yesterday and today, and undoubtedly, they are going to fashion tomorrow. Hierarchies are crumbling all around us, with social media building a new world run by collaborative power.
These changes have been evident in the Employee First, Customer Second philosophy as well. Once driven by top management and embraced by employees, the EFCS movement is now becoming employee-driven and management-embraced. Innovative ideas are emerging from the ground up, and employees are driving corporate social responsibility. Yet, most companies appear oblivious to the winds of change.
It’s time CEOs paid attention, moved away from legacy systems, and decoupled power and position. If we can broaden leadership by empowering employees to assume the responsibility for change, we are sure to find new ways to transform business.
A Philosophy Of Trust
Most organizations seem to have either forgotten or have never really known why they exist and what their higher purposes are. Instead, they have often elevated narrow individual and institutional self-interest into the only purposes that they recognize as valid. Many of our corporations primarily exist to maximize the compensation of their executives, and secondarily shareholder value, rather than value creation for customers, employees, and other major stakeholders.
The single most important requirement for the creation of higher levels of trust for any organization is to discover or rediscover the higher purpose of the organization.
Trust is the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. Without first building internal trust you cannot expect to build external trust. Power comes from giving and earning trust not from controlling information, people and processes.
The purpose of the organization is to build trust. Old mindsets and organizational models have created barriers to building trust because of self serving interest fueled by fear and distrust. Here is a salute to those whom have survived and are now breaking down the walls of distrust.