October 6, 2008

Am opinionated...will question authority!

I knew I wanted to help businesses and some how, in my own little way, make the world a better place. After a few false starts I found my niche in staff surveying. I decided that making staff happier and bosses better through it was my little way of “changing the world”.
It was perfect because as a Gen Y I’ve always been opinionated and known that authority desperately NEEDS to be questioned – not because I am a brat, but because it is the questioning and discussing that drastically improves things. This attitude is not overwhelmingly popular, as there are plenty of old fashioned people and businesses who prefer things “like they used to be”. There is DEFINETLY a time and a place for ‘things as they used to be’ – I’d definitely prefer a delish old school cookie “like mama used to make” than those rubbery wee things Subway pass off as ‘cookies’! Business, workplaces and bosses however need a mix of old and new - the best of both worlds. I found that despite suffering high staff turnover, performance problems and the costs involved in these things, bosses still hesitated before doing a staff survey. I don’t know what they were scared of, but I did know what they were missing out on. Most staff surveys do not ask the right questions, nor are the answers interpreted correctly. In one case of the extreme I came across a survey that no matter how staff answered the questions, the responses came out glowing. Staff were bitterly, bitterly unhappy – yet the survey results boasted passion, engagement and commitment. More surprisingly it was run by an external professional survey company. I knew something was wrong. The right questions were not being asked and the staff not being understood. My surveys sent me in to bat for the ‘little guys’. I was on the staffs side – I knew no one else was. I also knew what it was like to feel powerless. Where the company isn’t interested in what you have to say, nor is the boss. I would go as far to say that not listening to your staff is the most ridiculous, stupid, toxic, mammoth mistake mediocre businesses are STILL making day after day. I loved batting for the staff, but I loved EVEN MORE the look on the bosses face when I presented them with insight. The results that told them all they have ever wanted and needed to know about what is going wrong and why. I think they found freedom in the results – they regretted ever being scared and wished they’d had this info in their hands years ago. I’ll explain how all I learnt doing surveying lead me to write my book The Boss Benchmark soon.

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