Extract from Swimming with Sharks – Simple business guidelines for a complex world
I know that times are tough and that the economy is rocky.
I understand that revenue growth is slowing and that drastic action needs to be taken and that means the dreaded ‘change management’ is tangible in our everyday lives.
Yes, I’m just a little bit afraid of change but that’s insufficient reason for you to believe that I should be kept in the dark because you think that that’s what’s best for me.
So, I thought I’d write you this note to give you an insight into the way I think that you should treat me as an employee.
First, see me as a microcosm of the success factors within your business.
One of the things that you always focus on in your interviews with media is that ‘Human Capital’ is the most important part of our business. If we are the most important aspect in the success and longevity, then I think you should start by communicating with your ‘human capital’ about the changes we are going through.
- Tell us everything: don’t keep a couple of valuable little details to yourself because you think that knowledge gives you power. Share the knowledge, because that’s where our trust – which will grow your power – comes from.
- Tell us quickly: when you know, let us know. Don’t wait until the last minute. It always makes us feel like an afterthought, rather than being recognised as the critical cogs that we are.
- Be honest: never lie. Never bend the truth. Never estimate. Don’t think that integrity is plastic or pliable. It isn’t, and we don’t think that it is. We want you to be honest, open and forthright, every time, all the time.
- Tell us the brutal facts: some details are uncomfortable, unpleasant and life-altering. Know that we are rational beings and able to cope with information that is shared with us in a respectful manner.
- Give us regular updates: silence is the breeder of rumours, and we’d mostly rather be talking about the facts than about stuff we heard from someone else. Give us a reason and the ammunition to be able to keep the rumour-mongers in their place.
- Show us your vision: let us feel your passion and excitement about the future, even if it is not as close as we all thought it might be. If you tell us a good story that we can believe and grasp onto, then we’re all in this together.
- Tell us what is going to be done to move forward: we all need a plan and we want to know what is being done to get us onto a solid footing.
- Show us that we are all in the same boat: are you getting a bonus this year while the rest of us are not? How do you think that makes all of us feel?
Most importantly, we want to believe. We want to trust you. We want you to do what you say and say what you do. And the best time to do this? When times are tough.
Thank you – I look forward to working with you, armed with the information I need to help you achieve your business goals. That’s a win-win for both of us.