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Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

First published November 2, 2010

The orcification of your business 

Given the events of the last few years, it’s not surprising that a question like “I have more work to do than I did one year ago” is currently registering a 20% – 60% uptick in employee engagement surveys. Not surprising, because just about every organization is trying to achieve more with less.What’s disturbing is that questions like those that follow are registering a 15% – 45% decrease:

“I have a daily / weekly / monthly to-do list.”

“I understand our organization’s overall goals.”

“I understand our department’s overall goals.”

“I understand how I personally contribute to our organization’s overall goals.”

“I understand how I personally contribute to my department’s overall goals.”

“I have time to help develop others.”

“I have developed my own personal skills in the past year.”

In essence, the leadership of many organizations are frozen in place while their talented, formerly-passionate employees turn into a horde of orcs: unenthused automatons violently battering at the mountain of work they have, in the blind hope that sheer effort alone might solve whatever the underlying problem is.

The difficulty is, there is no underlying problem – this is just the new normal. And normal needs vision.

Blind, unguided effort on the part of your people – however talented – will achieve nothing. Doing ‘more with less’ does not equal ‘increased productivity’ if there is no accompanying vision – it’s just brainless, mindless effort, pure and simple. You may as well send everyone out into the car park and have them repaint the white lines.

You’re better than this. Your organization is better than this. Your people are better than this. Put the vision back.

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