Dysfunction…a deeper cut

thedysfunctionalorganizationAs you know, I literally “wrote the book” on Dysfunctional Organizations.  I am trying to be funny because someone needs to “write the book” and fix these organizations before they implode. Three times this past week I had associates come to me with workplace issues, all of them relate very well to the dysfunctional organization?

Seems the first, who worked in a government role got tied up with a supervisor a couple levels up trying to make an example of him for serving the customer.  Now, I know government and “serving the customer” or making the customer happy don’t quite go together but in his zest to keep customer happy and productive he transferred equipment that should not have been transferred.  Seems like a good reason for discipline, not for termination.  But like any good dysfunctional organization, without regard for his personal life they gave him an opportunity to resign.  How wonderful of them?  His intentions were good but his conformists’ tactics were not.

The second case is a young person in a significant role of responsibility with a large retailer had her function and role changed without any discussion with human resources, any bad reviews or any communication with her boss.  Dysfunctionality it seems happens right at the top. It holds no prejudice.  Reminds me of what I call the Barr syndrome.  Barr was an HR Director that called me and praised me for a 360 degree survey leadership result at 95% because; in his words it led the company.  The company average was 55%, our department average was 31% and my bosses were 13%.  Pretty pathetic, yet in two months I was laid off as vengeance for my bosses 13% score. In the mentioned retailer, there is a lack of communication, lack of understanding and an inability to get the employee to buy in and make the transition simple and easy. All could be avoided with a little discussion in advance.

Another call I got was from an old friend who had taken a position (he was recruited mind you) about nine months ago for an equipment manufacturer and was told last week that “this just isn’t working out’ by the president of his company who by the way recruited him.  Now there were obviously some political undertones here as the subordinates and peers of this friend were not part of the decision making process with the President to hire this gentleman in the first place and were rather uncooperative when he was hired.  But up until that date no one had a conversation with my friend about his performance or about the direction he was taking in managing the companies business.  Again, the level of communication is nonexistent.

Seems to be a trend here, all of these relationships could have been salvaged with a little old fashioned communication.  Why not go out of your way to overly communicate important issues that have great bearing on people’s lives?  Why not give them the benefit of the doubt when mistakes are made to keep good people within the organization? Why not make our organizations functional again so that we can prosper and grow.  Seems simple doesn’t it? But organizations are a collection of people.  And people have a lot of idiosyncrasies. People get jealous; people do not trust all the time, people get vindictive and cause problems.  Our jobs as leaders are to break down those walls and get people to work together for everyone’s good. The best way to start is with open communication.  With the proper communication all of these issues could have been resolved and a much more effective organization would be the result.

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