When a friend of mine started a new job as Head of Human Resources at an SME, one of the first things she did was interview the line managers regarding certain topics of leadership. She wanted to know what, in their opinion, the company’s strategy, goals, values, mission were. Out of 12 department leaders of that company only two really knew what the company’s strategy and goals were – the CEO and the CFO. All others were more or less clueless, didn’t remember or just plainly didn’t care. But there were several things they all agreed on: they valued the flat organisational structure, the possibility to participate in the decision making process and the open and honest communication culture. They knew what their daily work consisted of and they knew how to motivate their direct reports. My friend had the full confidence of her CEO and was able to develop new instruments to help develop leadership skills and recognition.
Then the culture changed, new CEO, new ownership, new goals. Now it was all about what the owners wanted, financial goals were paramount and the management style was strictly topdown. Line managers knew what was expected of them, they were not asked to participate in the decision making process, their input was not valued. It was all about maximal output with minimal resources.
The outcome was devastating. Employees started to leave, know-how was lost, the remaining employees were demotivated and the atmosphere at a new low. Why is this worth mentioning? Every business is about people. This may sound strange in a world where many jobs are created in cyberspace, where robots are developed to take over repetitive work. But still, human beings need only three things to feel fulfilled in their work environment: recognition, a meaningful job and the possibility to shape it and personal development. Not really that much, is it? And this is where the fun starts, a meaningful occupation, working with like-minded people towards common goals. This is Nine Aligned.