Saturday, January 28, 2012

Is the Tail wagging the Dog?

Is the tail wagging the dog?  Interesting thought, but what does this mean?

In the workplace, it is important for leaders to be engaged with what motivates their teams.  Leaders are frequently encouraged to have focus groups with their employees, engage them on an interpersonal level, and ensure that your employees have buy in to the corporate vision. 

In my mind, the most important aspect is that the corporation have vision and that there is a top down understanding of what the values are of organization.  A really good example of this I watched on an episode of Undercover Boss.  Each meeting from the corporate level down to the newest franchise started off meetings with reviewing the mission, vision, and values.  That was eye-opening for me.  In organizations that I have worked in people have expressed concern about an understanding of what the mission, vision, and values were, and how they applied to the work they did.  Because there lacked a clear understanding, people at varying levels of the organization made decisions based upon what their interpretation was of the mission, vision, and values.  Thus, the tail started to wag the dog.

If you have ever seen a really excited dog, their tails are moving all over the place seemingly directing the dog.  Eventually the dog starts chasing the tail, and loses total control of their original mission.

Organizations do the same thing.  Things to remember though.  Employee engagement and recognition is paramount to the success of all organizations from small business to large international corporations.  Make decisions and changes that are more incremental and build upon each other, rather ones that create a "shock and awe" effect, although, sometimes "shock and awe" are inevitable because of the changes.

Most importantly, focus on the culture of the organization.  If the right culture is established, alignment of the mission, vision, and values throughout the organization is virtually guaranteed.  I have found that sub-cultures can be created within the department and divisional levels, but ultimately must be those sub-cultures have to align themselves with organization as whole.

Think about your current position.  Does your organization have a tail wagging the dog mentality?  If so, once those are in place, they are like a flea infestation and could take months and years to completely reverse.

Chart your course beginning today, both personally and professionally.  Regain focus and purpose and have a hostile takeover of your life and your organization!

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