You know how the quote goes: “Mushroom management: the practice of keeping people in the dark and every now and then dumping dirt on them.” You may know another ending as well. That approach may work for mushrooms but it is what destroys performance in today’s economy.
What had me thinking about mushrooms is a program I have been presenting to companies on workplace culture – and how it inspires or destroys exceptional employee performance.
Most organizations, particularly in the recession, have reverted back to the mushroom culture – the culture of keeping employees in the dark and feeding them half-truths. Think how dangerous this is to performance, customer loyalty, employee loyalty and business sustainability.
In a highly connected workplace, employees need constant clear contact from management – to keep things focused and to successfully manage the information employees encounter during the day. In the absence of clear communication from management, employees fill in the details with supposition, hearsay and misinformation. Limiting information in today’s workplace is the same as taking away manufacturing employees’ equipment and still holding them responsible for their work.
So, in a challenging economy, it time to reassess whether you have a mushroom or an open-air culture:
1. Is there a constant flow of information from management to employees? This could be in the form of a weekly e-mail, post on an intranet or even a recorded call.
2. Is there an easy and effective flow of information from employees to management? Is it easy for employees to share what they hear, think about and are concerned with? This could be an idea center on the intranet, a special management e-mail site for ideas or comments or other idea centers.
3. Is every effort made to keep the organization aware and focused on events that affect the strategy, direction and business purpose? Constant repetition of the mission statement, key strategic objectives, customer service slogans, etc. helps employees stay aware of what is important among the significant distractions they encounter each day.
When we find ourselves in new or challenging territory, we frequently share less of what we know and think; we play our hand close to the vest. As we do this, our employees do not know how to respond. They need our guidance and constant communication to help them stay focused and to navigate a changing workplace. The best ideas for responding to any challenging or constantly changing environment do not come from being kept in the dark. We all work better when we love where we work.
Please contact me to help you develop a powerful employee-focused workplace culture. Be sure to forward this to someone who can benefit from it.
This entry was posted on Monday, November 8th, 2010 at 9:32 pm and is filed under For Managers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.