So, how was your summer?
In the face of one of the worst recessions in recent history, with job losses at record levels and a prevailing environment of fear and uncertainty, I’m guessing most American workers had a pretty tough summer.
After all, who is going to take a vacation when, each week, the possibility of getting a pink slip looms larger and larger?
Yes, I read the recent reports that most companies claimed a bump in “employee productivity” in the 2nd quarter despite slashing jobs and shrinking revenues. I’m all in favor of removing deadwood, but I have a strong suspicion that the improved productivity is driven by employees doing the equivalent of the jobs held by two or three of their former coworkers. And who is going to complain?
Chances are, most employees are keeping their head down and praying that they survive the next round of layoffs.
It’s time to break this cycle of fear and negativity, time to re-energize the workforce and get them focused on their role getting the company back on track and into the black.
It’s time to get your executive out of their corner office and onto the shop floor; time to rally the troops and re-energize them for the 4th quarter.
I’m not talking about a video series or an executive blog – this is the time to jettison impersonal one-to-many technologies and go face-to-face with your workforce.
Granted, many executives aren’t passionate, engaging presenters. And many of them dread speaking to large groups. Your best bet is to build on your executive’s strong points.
If she is a dynamic platform speaker, treat these events like a political rally – a large meeting room, high energy music, bold, flashing graphics, and an old-fashioned “barn burner” of a speech.
If he’s a bit more reserved, and better in small groups, take the approach of a “listening tour” — set up a series of breakfast or luncheon roundtables in key cities and equip the executive with some open-ended questions to get the ball rolling.
Or, if your executive falls somewhere in between, you can take the talk show approach, with a local market leader playing the Oprah role and leading the executive through a series of questions for a scripted discussion.
At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter which approach you and your executive take. Just get out there and get in front of your people. They need to see their leaders and hear, directly from the source, that the business is on track and ready to rebound as the economy improves.