I recently hitched a ride with a colleague to a meeting that we were both attending. It wasn’t until we rolled into town that we realized neither one of us had directions. I guess I’ve gotten so accustomed to using my GPS that it never occurred to me that she might not have one in her car nor did I think it would be prudent to print out a set of directions, just in case.
We wasted considerable time driving around looking for our location. Of course being women, we had no problems stopping and asking for directions. Unfortunately, the woman behind the counter was unable to help us as she was not from the area. So we drove some more until we finally decided to pull off the road and look at Google Maps on our I-phones. We made it to our location with less than a minute to spare.
This event reminded me of the many times my employer sent me out without directions. I’m sure I circled around the company many times before finally arriving at my final destination. I look back now and think of how much time and money must have been wasted on these weekly exercises. Are you doing the same thing to your employees? Ask yourself the following:
Do my employees know where we are headed? I’m not just talking about being able to recite the company mission statement. I mean do they really know where the organization is headed? And if so, has anyone communicated the plan for getting there?
Do my employees have the tools they need to reduce the amount of time it takes to arrive at our destination? I understand that resources are tight, but can you really expect to keep up with your competition, who may all be driving PC’s that resemble Porsches, while your people are forced to pull over every ten minutes to reboot their clunkers?
Do my employees feel they have the power to veer off course when necessary? Roadmaps and technology are great. That is, until you come across a situation that hasn’t been planned for. Are your people empowered enough to quickly shift directions, if conditions warrant such action?
Arriving at our meeting with barely a minute to spare was stressful. Now imagine what it must feel like for someone who is circling around the company everyday, without a roadmap to guide them.
Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Human Resource Solutions
Author of the forthcoming, Suddenly in Charge! Managing Up, Managing Down, Suceeding All Around (January, 2011)
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