Rebuilding Trust, Commitment, and Morale

Years ago, business owners were asked, “If you had to choose between a fire that wiped out your facilities versus having all of your people quit and walk out at the same time, which option would you take?” Almost everyone said they’d rather lose their buildings and equipment because to rebuild their human organization would require a lot more effort and be more difficult to accomplish.

In the latest issue of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Ignite newsletter, co-founder Ken Blanchard shares how the recession of the past two years put many organizations into a position of having to decide between people and profits in order to stay in business. Some of those decisions were painful, and in some cases, the way decisions were made had an adverse impact on the human side of the organization. The facilities and the equipment are intact, but the people are not present in the same way as before.

As a result says Blanchard, “People are looking for clues to see if their organization is only interested in the bottom line, or if they are equally concerned with the people side of the business.”

For leaders looking to rebuild trust, commitment, and morale in their organizations, Blanchard recommends senior leaders focus on creating a compelling vision, while immediate managers work to implement plans by connecting individual work to overall goals. 

As Blanchard explains, “Senior leaders need to create a compelling vision that defines or redefines the organization’s business. The key here is to have a clear focus on the customer and make that everyone’s goal. During the past recession, people saw what looked like self-serving behavior on the part of a lot of leaders. In many organizations, it seemed as if top leaders saw the organization only as a way to achieve personal ends. In contrast, when senior leaders identify a compelling vision of the future and align the organization’s goals and values toward this vision, everyone can move in the right direction and focus their energy on the customer.

“Frontline managers need to make sure that each and every employee’s work is connected to an overall department or organizational goal and that the employee can see how their work has an impact. To build trust and respect with direct reports, frontline managers should schedule regular one-on-one meetings with their people. Managers should use these sessions to clarify expectations, solicit input, answer questions, and provide feedback. Nothing shows that you care and respect a person—and their work—more than spending time with them, checking on their progress, and providing help when necessary.”

To read more about Ken Blanchard’s thoughts on rebuilding trust, commitment, and morale, be sure to check out the complete article here.  To participate in a complimentary webinar Ken Blanchard will be conducting on this topic visit the information page for Healing the Wounded Organization.  The webinar is free and hosted by Cisco WebEx.  Click here for details.

3 thoughts on “Rebuilding Trust, Commitment, and Morale

  1. Ken,

    Thank you for your post. I am sensing some tidal movements afoot in the workplace as the recession’s toll continues to play out, even through (and perhaps because of) the recovery.

    Initially, there were so many cuts that those who remained employed were largely thankful to have a job. In the aftermath, however, organizations that didn’t maintain the trust of their people may begin to pay a price as recession-weary survivors finally regain belief that new opportunities await them.

    This hangover could last for years. For a $30-50k worker, hearing that owners, shareholders, and deal-makers went a few years without a paycheck only to return to 7-figure compensation packages will do little to rekindle their loyalties.

    Companies that are fortunate enough to have star performers and rock-solid B players around after this mess must be thinking INVEST, INVEST, INVEST in this strategic asset.

    Aside from casting or recasting the vision, leaders need to demonstrate actions that reflect a genuine and deeply-seated passion for their businesses, their customers, and people.

    Do you see this, too?

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