It is common for a human being to have a general checkup, especially when he or she is over 30 years old. Generally, someone will realize the need to check their health when they reach middle age or feel something is not quite right.
The same holds true for a company. After being in existence for a decade or two or even more, something may not feel right about the company or, at least, it is no longer the same as when you first joined it.
Most people in the company, for example, may have become indifferent about their job, decisions are not made on time or even give the impression of a touch of bureaucracy. Various activities in the company seem to be going in their own direction and the managers do not see the need for a unified orientation in their activities. Many managers opt for the philosophy of “”Well, its not my business.“”
If any of the indications referred to above are detected, this may be a signal that the company needs a general checkup. Likening a company to a bureaucratic machine is an old metaphor as many bureaucratic “”machines”” have broken down even when there is no monetary crisis.
A company should be treated like a human body, a living organism. If one of our body functions shuts down because of some imperfection, the body will not perform optimally. Unless this imperfection is removed, a human body will not function well. In the same way, unless something is done to improve the condition of an unhealthy company, it may collapse.
It should also be borne in mind that our body may also deteriorate because of the presence of toxic substances from the environment, for example from air pollution. It is indeed very difficult to maintain your fitness under such circumstances.
In the case of a company, its condition may worsen because of worsening external conditions such as political, social, economic or other circumstances, factors that are beyond the capabilities of the company to control.
However, as a human being will some day need a general checkup, a company also requires a similar checkup to find out what changes have occurred. Is it true that the changes in the company have been brought about by political and economic factors or were they internally caused? The following are a few management illnesses and some tips to treat them:
The backbone serves to ensure that we stand erect. A manager lacking backbone does not have the courage to make decisions and is hesitant when facing critical issues. As a result, the working environment becomes unhealthy. If a human being has something wrong with his backbone, he will be unable to stand tall.
Similarly, if a company suffers from “” backbone trouble””, there will be confusion, particularly among employees not directly linked with management.
They will feel that decisions are made too slowly, and when they are made they are inconsistent. Eventually, these employees will become lazy, leading to a high rate of absenteeism and low productivity.
Tip to cure this disease: Communicate with your employees consistently and never tire of convincing them. Support the management. It may be worthwhile joining a leadership seminar or training, but most importantly, be a good role model.
This may be an analogy for pent up disappointment or anger. It is common to see disappointment and inconsistency at a workplace. The reason is that the reward system is felt to be unjust or that promotion is less transparent.
Other reasons may include inconsistent and weak decisions, the feeling of being slighted and so forth. Unless these cases are properly and immediately handled, they may lead to a great explosion like a protest rally by the employees. It may happen that the company may lose its superstars. Worse still, some groups may sabotage corporate performance in revenge.
Tip to cure this disease: Hold regular meetings, for example, once a month, in a relaxed manner with your employees. This forum is important to find out what problems have arisen at the workplace. If the cases are clear, give immediate and firm responses. Your decision may not please everybody, but they will respect your firmness.
This may afflict employees often disappointed by a company because the company cannot explore their creative ideas. Too many penalties are lying in wait. Everything must be perfect.
There is no room for experimentation or mistakes. Superiors and subordinates are treated differently. As a result, the employees become apathetic. The absenteeism rate is rising and a negative attitude toward one’s job often emerges.
Tip to cure this disease: Do not be too rigid. Allow your employees room to make mistakes as this will serve as a way for them to learn. Listen to the ideas expressed by your employees, even if they are of the lowest rank. Don’t forget to praise or, if possible, reward a creative idea that gives an added value to the company and the employees.
4. Loss of hearing
It is a human need to be heard. The price we must pay when we lose our hearing is that our staffers and employees will be indifferent and will not listen to our instructions.
Tip to cure this disease: Learn again to listen to feedback from your employees. If possible, conduct a survey on job satisfaction and follow up the results seriously.
The diseases that may afflict a company may make up a long list. However, one important thing to remember is that, like the human body, unless a company is properly taken care of, it may suffer from an ailment. Now conduct a general checkup. Who knows, you may have time to save your company from any likelihood of paralysis or even death.
*Published by The Jakarta Post, 10/11/2006