Engaging the power of organisational identity
When times are tough, more than ever the organisation must pull together and stay energised to succeed. But this is just when the pressures of the recession will tend to push people into battening down the hatches. Instinctively, many individuals will try to protect their jobs by focusing on their own agendas. It can feel counter-intuitive to lift your sights above your individual concerns to focus on the whole firm’s success. So how can leaders help people to do that?
One answer is more face-to-face communication. That personal, human contact will connect with people’s raised emotional needs at times of anxiety and help keep morale stable. One Chief Executive told us, ‘I’ve told managers not to complain about the share price, as that just makes things worse, but try and help people stay positive.’ Another way to tap in to people’s positive feelings about the business they work for is through what we call organisational identity – a reminder of who we are and what we stand for, as an organisation. This might include stories about how the business has come through bad times before, reminders of what its founders believed, or finding ways to reinforce what people value most about the business.
Our recent research shows that many leaders have discovered this route to engaging the heart and soul of the business in the challenge to deliver as a united team. What’s the emotional life of your business? How are you connecting with it?