Sharing corporate purpose

I recently joined an alumni event of the executive programs of Universities of Rochester / Bern on change management. The energizing presentation of Professor Richard Jolly from the London Business School outlined a disastrous situation regarding employee engagement in most of the companies. According to his numbers, 70% of employees are usually disengaged with their employers. One of the reasons for this disengagement is the fatal situation that we are all sick from constant hurry. We are overwhelmed by the huge amount of e-mails or by working almost every time around the clock. Another reason for disengagement is that most of the companies fail to find the right balance between over and under confidence. What does that mean?

Two delusional states
Based on the research of Professor Richard Jolly many companies are struggling with the creation of an environment of balanced confidence for their employees. In many cases, the atmosphere is dominated by elements of over confidence, expressed by behaviours of arrogance, hubris, grandiosity and intimidation. In such a culture we ignore change, we do things as we always have done it and have no incentive for innovation. On the other hand, under confidence causes helplessness and an atmosphere in which nobody is willing to take responsibility or feels himself as a victim of circumstances. The analysis of such a dramatic workplace situation concludes into two actions points to resolve the problem.

Changing the context
To trigger behavioural and cultural shifts the context must be changed. This sounds trivial, but it isn’t. Professor Richard Jolly illustrated how the mood of someone can be changed due to different circumstances, be it a refreshing middle European park in Fontainebleau in spring time or the metropole of Calcutta during the summer heat. Both environments have a fundamental impact on working manner. By changing circumstances, we can shift gears towards motivation and engagement. How does such an environment look like?

Driving communications
To imagine the right level of confidence, you should think about the atmosphere you would like to work in yourself. Treat other people as you would like to be treated. As leader, be a strong role model because others will follow you. Corporate mimicry is all over. Everybody should feel he or she can contribute to a higher cause. It is exactly this cause or corporate purpose which should to be shared amongst employees – a central task of communication. To communicate Corporate Purpose – the rational and mission of the company – will be increasingly important as a critical success factor to motivate and engage employees.

Just do it!
Finally, everybody’s own willingness to change counts. You just have to do it. At the end of day, in the words of Mark Twain “you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

If you are interested in more information on how to develop a convincing narrative of corporate purpose, get in touch with us:

Ute Dehn Communications
Aeschenvorstadt 24
CH-4051 Basel
Phone: +41 61 283 40 31
Mobile: +41 79 470 21 18

Ute Dehn has managed internal communication projects over many years both as corporate communication leader and senior advisor. Communicating corporate purpose is often the heart of successful leadership and the key to a consistent communication plan. Ute will be able to assist you in matters of corporate purpose.