Mr. CEO, you got it all wrong!


"So what is the reason for declining sales since last 3 quarters? Your competitors are growing and the industry is doing OK" asked the reporter from Chris, the CEO of Alpha Industries.

"The market conditions are tough and competitive. We face a lot of competition from the Asian countries who are driving down the price. We, on the other hand, are trying to sell value which has a longer sales cycle but higher margin" replied Chris.

"Yes but competition from Asia is not new, it's been there since the last couple of years. What are you doing exactly to tackle it?"

Chris was at loss of words. He remembered he gave the same reason to an analyst last quarter as well. He had to think of something new.

"We have started several programs for customer intimacy. We are developing strategies and new services to give better returns on their investment to our existing customers by understanding their business better. On the other hand, we are looking at reducing our nonessential costs "

"Wait a minute" interrupted one of the analysts.

"Are you suggesting another round of layoffs?"

"Well, all I am suggesting is that we need to reduce our costs to manage shareholder value"

After a few more uncomfortable questions the meeting ended.

Later that day, Chris met his executive team and he was not in a mood to take no prisoners.

"I want sales to be a priority for the next quarter, even if we have to sacrifice margin. Anyone who is not making their quota has to be fired" he told his Sales heads.

 "Also, Sandra and Phil, please work together and tell me where we can cut costs. I want a proposal within a week"

"Chris. we already let go 2 thousand people 6 months ago" said Sandra, the CHRO of the company.

" I know...I know... we are short on staff and that's why I want you to be smart in your next proposal. We need to cut costs without impacting sales and customer experience."

"Chris, but I am not talking about saving costs, I am talking about the mood in the company. We have basically nose-dived on employee engagement score. People are living in fear. We are losing some of our brightest people to our competitors."

"I agree", said Phil, the CFO. "I think the problem is not 'too much cost' but 'too much fear'...mmmm...whats the word for it.."

"Organizational Health," said Sandra

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If you are an employee at any level of an organization, I want you to:

1. Take a deep breath...

2. Bring all your thoughts to this moment...and 

3. Ask your self "Am I really happy working for this company"

An unhealthy organization: A price too high to pay.

A study was done by the University of Massachusetts which indicates:

- US companies bear a cost of $300 billion due to job-related stress.

- 40% of job turnover is due to stress

- Replacing an average employee costs 120% to 200% of the salary of the position affected.

- The average cost of absenteeism is 3.6 million a year in a large company (5K+ employees)

These are alarming numbers.

Ask yourself "Is my workplace unhealthy and are my colleague stressed?"

And if yes "what is your organization doing or not doing to avoid this?"

What can I do as a CEO?

A lot.

First of all you need to understand that the single greatest opportunity and competitive advantage for your company is available for free and its right underneath your noses. Its the People. I am sure this is not a 'news' to you.

The question is what are you doing or are you doing enough ?

I know you love spending time talking about your strategy, finance, customers and how you are changing the world through your company. While most of the people in your company are miserable.

But you will do a much better job thinking about your employee's mental health and reduce their stress level and in return, they will help you change the world through your company.

Ok Got it.. but what should I focus on ?

LEARNING.

Nope, I am not talking about eLearning, LMS, LXP, VR, AR and all those kind of things tools. Your L&D guy can talk all day about it but I am sure you don't want to hear that.

People are happy when they are growing. Intellectually, economically and spiritually. They feel good when they have a sense of fulfilment. Fulfilment leads to happiness (else why they are always on social media). Happiness leads to productivity and that's what you want right? PRODUCTIVITY.

Invest in their growth, Invest in their learning.

And invest in your own Learning to Learn about Learning.

I know that your HR and L&D guys have no clue about their own potential.

That's the Irony ;)

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