Monday, July 29th, 2013



I am hearing more stories about fear in organizations than I have for a long time.
We worked hard in the 80’s at getting fear out of the way so that companies could flourish.

Quality circles.
Team building.
Straight talk.
Conflict resoluton.
Open door policies
360 degree feedback
Inclusive culture
Solid  people policies

These were not  soft skills.  They were approaches to eliminating fear of whimsical power and cronyism.  They were about an atmosphere of assumed fairness.  SO THAT PEOPLE COULD THINK ABOUT THE CUSTOMERS AND THE BUSINESS NOT THEMSELVES.  

Fear has seeped back into the workplace:

Will I be “down sized?”
Can I give my opinion or will I be punished?
Do I have to watch who I support or talk to?
Do I have to pick sides to be safe?
Am I doing a good enough job?  Does it matter if I am?
Does top leadership know how to take us into the future?
Do I have to be just a little bit dishonest to survive?
Do I have to protect myself and my resume all the time?
Do I have to agree with what I think is wrong?
Am I stupid to give 100% to this company?  Am i being a fool?
Do I have to commit to actions I think are wrong for the business?

Where did this fear come from?
Does economic down turn necessarily create a harsh punishing reality?
Are leaders scared or uncaring?

I want to go on the record as naive.
When the external world is a little or a lot scarey I think:

People won’t be scared if they understand the business challenges in specific detail. 
People won’t be scared if they make the decisions that will effect them –even laying off or eliminating positions.
People won’t be scared if top leaders share in the pain of adjustment to a new reality.
People won’t be scared if everyone sacrifices for the common good and no one is sacrificed.
People won’t be scared if there is a steady hand on the tiller that knows how to navigate through the challenges.
People won’t be scared if they are pulled together to get through a tough time
rather than splintered and isolated by rumors and special relationships.
People won’t be scared if they are not threatened.

Tell me.  Where did this new wave of scare come from?


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