Have you heard of the phrase “Do as I say, not as I do” ?
Many business leaders have the right intentions, the right thoughts or the right motives to effect change, yet exclude themselves from the application of the directive. Yet, more often than not, change is only truly embraced when applied from the top downwards.
Perhaps it’s implementing better interdepartmental communication. Or maybe a more consistent, strategized corporate or product message designed to permeate throughout the organization.
Except the CEO – or the Sales Director, or the Customer Services Manager, or whoever – doesn’t think that this new thinking applies to them. They carry on improvising their sales presentations – or describing the product their own way, or emailing a distributor without cc’ing the appropriate territory manager – the way that they have always done. In other words, dutifully ignoring the carefully-crafted initiatives that, often, they were an integral part of devising in the first place.
Well, if my boss doesn’t bother to make the effort, why should I? Subordinates see that their bosses aren’t taking the new initiatives on board. Within a short space of time the best-laid plans of mice and men have collapsed. Everyone in the company, bar a few, have reverted to type. Sure, the organization has wasted time, money and effort. But what’s worse is that the credibility of individuals or groups to effect an initiative has been undermined – and from within, of all places. It’s the start of the slippery slope.
If you want your service department to get back to customers faster, don’t take five days to answer your own emails. If you expect better forward planning and budget-control from your marketing department, don’t continually indulge yourself in spur-of-the-moment expenditures that serve no strategic purpose other than to boost your own ego and undermine the authority of your managers.
If it’s good enough for them, then it’s good enough for everyone.
And that includes you.