A Chance to Build Something Great
I've been doing some research on companies for a while and what I've found is rather discouraging. Lots of unhappy employees who don't feel respected, appreciated or able to make a difference. Lots of management that is not paying attention, perceived as incompetent, and clueless to the pain of the people surrounding them. It's quite depressing, especially if you've experience this yourself. The fact is, stories of people who are engaged and happy with managers that they admire and enjoy working with are the exception rather than the rule. It really upsets me. Life is too short to be miserable like that. I know what it feels like and it hurts to think others are dealing with these problems. Nevertheless, when the economy is good most companies seem to be able to plug along just fine with a staff of unhappy employees and tone deaf management. If one tells them they have a problem, they look at you like you're an idiot. "We're making money hand over fist! We're not going to let a few disgruntled employees ruin that. They're just a grumpy minority." Why change at all? At this point, you realize that until they feel some sort of compelling need to change, nothing will happen. If there is any notion of change at all, it's usually, "Go fix those guys..." Managers want you to fix the employees, and employees want you to fix the management. Neither option works in isolation. So then we are at an impasse. There isn't a compelling way forward that either group will buy into, so the miserable status quo rules. I find this is very frustrating. Go to Glassdoor.com and read the reviews for many companies. It's depressing reading. If you have any empathy at all, it almost hurts physically to read those reviews. How do we get out of this cycle of maintaining the miserable status quo? In the last month I've seen the economy completely tank for what is now the third time in my life (2001 tech bubble, 2008 housing bubble, and now). Each time, many companies were devastated. Their business models were completely blown up. Some recovered, but many didn't. The same pattern is playing out today. It's very likely that your company has been adversely impacted by the pandemic. The markets have been blown up. If this is your situation, you are going to be in a rebuilding phase for months if not years to come. So why not build something better this time? If all the Lego pieces are already lying on the ground, isn't now a great time to build something better? Do you really think that building the old system again will be a competitive improvement? Of course not. Now is our big chance to create something better. Not just better products, but better environments for our people. Now is the perfect time to look at how we work and make it better. Think of it this way: we are at a historical inflection point. Some companies will come out of this depression stronger, having found ways to work together in ways that value their people and create opportunity. Others will simply try to rebuild what they had before. Which one do you think is going to be better off? Which one do you want to be a part of?
I know where I'm placing my bets.