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Building Organizational Resiliency

Almost every leader is trying to define what the “new normal” will be for their organizations. This moment presents an enormous opportunity for CEOs to provide a powerful new vision for work that will hardwire resiliency into their cultures.

Recently, Marc Benioff called on fellow CEOs to resist layoffs as a first line of defense and to instead treat employees as “essential partners” in navigating the crisis, with the aim toward creating lasting transformation of the employer-employee relationship.

Many decades ago, a serial entrepreneur named Danny McCall recognized that we needed a new way to think about, construct and manage the relationship existing between organizations and workers. Relations Research carries on Danny’s work today, and we believe transforming work is vital to businesses surviving this crisis, and ultimately thriving.

In the simplest possible terms, a better employer-employee relationship has a “we” dynamic not an “us versus them” dynamic. It’s an understanding that the future of a business and employees’ futures with the business are inextricably tied. Let me be clear, work being a “we thing” does not imply paternalism or the projection of family ideals onto a business. On the contrary, employees must be less shielded from business realities, and more in tune with how they can make greater strategic contributions within their roles. HOWEVER, if you want workers who behave as partners, bringing their full creativity, energy and spirit to their work, it’s incumbent on you as a leader to create the “fertile conditions” for this to occur. One of those conditions is what we refer to as bilateral accountability. Leaders must be deliberate in creating work relationships that are two-way streets; managers not only must have their fingers on the pulse of what is going on in the minds of each and every employee but there must be true management accountability for effective stewardship of those relationships.

Just as many businesses have adopted means and methods for more personalized customer experiences resulting in more durable relationships, now is the time to do the same with our talent relationships. Command and control coupled with one-sized fits all workforce management may have been an adequate model for many decades, but it breaks down when “why” is more important than “what”, and business success depends upon better problem-solving, judgement, creativity, and resiliency from people at all levels.

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