by Tom O’Shea, CMC, Principal, Agility Consulting
2011 was a year filled with new and remarkable levels of social and economic drama all around the globe as well as here in the USA. We have seen vivid examples of a number of countries (ours included) facing shattering levels of economic distress while government leaders and political parties seemed to be playing high stakes poker with serious, unpredictable consequences. All around the globe and throughout much of 2011, average citizens could do nothing but stand by and watch a very unsettling type of “reality TV” each day on the evening news. What we were watching was a case study in how to disintegrate global confidence … in governments, leaders, financial markets and in some cases even things like “the American Dream”! In the U.S., this disintegration of consumer confidence manifested itself with the lowest “approval” ratings for Congressional leaders … EVER! So, what could be in store for 2012?
2011 also beamed some pockets of optimism from some very remarkable events on the other end of the spectrum and in some very unlikely places! The “Arab Spring” generated amazing enthusiasm and street level civic pride for so many ordinary people in countries where personal freedom and confidence were nonexistent. We could readily see the power that results when people are able to generate confidence … it leads to courage and capability to initiate action especially when fueled with the kind of passion for freedom that exploded throughout the region. It was a great display of spontaneous agility in action at the time. Many questions remain having to do with leadership, governance and structure … but freedom can beget many possibilities.
While these things are macro-economic, global forces of change, they do affect all of us and are part of the context we bring into our every day organizations. Some of these events make it that much tougher for business leaders to generate confidence. One clear trend from these uncertain, recessionary times is that employee engagement scores have been declining at an increasing rate. Click the link on the left side of the screen to view the 5 Top Employee Engagement Trends in 2011. This has been one of the real impacts from the deep recession as layoffs, wage and benefit roll-backs and massive uncertainty fill Main Street while we suffer serial disappointments on Wall Street and watch partisan gridlock in Washington.
Our research and work with clients points us to three key drivers for GENERATING CONFIDENCE … in any context. How well do we have all the “stakeholders in our success” CONNECTED, ALIGNED and ENGAGED in such a way that they maintain and hold high confidence and feel that the enterprise success model is sound? This challenge must be a MISSION CRITICAL priority for CEO’s in 2012 … restoring positive confidence with employee’s, investors, suppliers and customers! The place to start is increasing the communication and involvement at all stakeholders answering these simple questions … What Does Success Look Like for Our Company in 2012? What are the priorities we need to address in order to achieve that success? What can I (each of us) do to help the team achieve that success?
Keep that conversation real, open and frequent and it will become the foundation for Generating Confidence in 2012 and beyond!