Entrepreneurs, leaders or managers,
The current crisis the world is facing is a true breakthrough. It questions all organizations, regardless of their size. It undermines the most robust schedules, the best thought-out prospects, makes business plans obsolete and all strategies swept away.
It also highlighted the necessity for some changes in your organizations or your installations, whatever they are. In any case, it will have pushed you to rethink the fundamentals of your business.
At the end of this period which will have strongly and durably shaken you and your team up, you have probably planned, as a manager or leader, to question yourself, to revisit many of your strategies and to adapt your means of production. And that’s a good thing.
However you shall not forget, in your reflections, what makes the primary value of your company and your most precious capital, namely your people!
Adapting your production tool without associating them is a choice that can deprive you from:
- top-level information that only they have,
- creativity and collective intelligence that only you and they, together, are able to implement
- finally, a full buy-in necessary to initiate the change.
The risk or threat to your business is thus not only external but internal.
It results from the impossibility of recognizing a common culture, a common mission and therefore a common desire. From a more pragmatic point of view, there is a risk or threat that your business faces a severe loss of efficiency at a time when optimum performance of the entire structure is more essential than ever.
How to best leverage return on experience?
In order to best mobilize all your vital forces, you need to:
- understand their feelings, their expectations, the drivers of their commitment and motivations,
- by collecting all various insights and representations, understand and achieve together a shared awareness of the challenges and risks to be faced,
- work on the necessary adaptations and actions by mobilizing collective intelligence,
- give everyone the space of responsibility and freedom necessary for collective performance,
- in order to make all this possible, create the conditions of psychological safety for everyone.
This implies role modeling and explicit commitment from the management in relation with the expected behavior and attitudes which facilitate exchanges in a virtuous manner.
Getting inspiration from high-risk industries
To feed and initiate such an approach, it is relevant to draw inspiration from the approach implemented in high-risk industries such as the nuclear sector.
Their takeaway, based on experience feedback from errors, incidents and accidents that occured, that the best way to mobilize forces against a risk is to develop a safety culture within their company.
State of the art advocates to leverage self-assessment of employees’ perceptions of their work environment. This stirs individual and collective awareness and provides measured and objective elements on which it is possible to build new mobilizing actions.
Beneath its apparent simplicity, it is an eminently powerful tool that is both systematic (everyone participates) and systemic (it reveals the internal organization). It also allows exploitation in cohorts which leads to internal, formal or informal exchanges, as well as to indicators at a more general level.
This questionnaire will cover the fundamentals of the company’s safety culture, with an emphasis on the feeling of belonging to a work group and its values. This is the famous “team spirit”.
It also may be particularly wise to target contextual subjects such as : remote work and management, information flow within the company, employees’ real involvement and fair understanding of issues, sharing of responsibilities and training, etc.
It reveals strong expectations, and helps setting priorities and defining an appropriate action plan. Above all, it allows everyone to see recognized their importance in the process, that they have a role to play, and that in difficult circumstances the success of the company rests on their shoulders and those of their team.
Finally, as this work on safety culture is above all a work of appropriation by each of the internal culture of the company, it has the collateral benefit of strengthening group cohesion, and therefore of improving overall productivity.
Such an approach, which is both systematic and systemic, requires real work of preparation, implementation and mobilization. It must also be followed by practical effects and plans resulting from collective reflections.
The meticulous attention and diligence in the implementation of this approach built on and for collective intelligence and efficiency are all the more impactful as this is a way to protect and mobilize your human capital.