Business

A few words about the responsibility of words

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Here we are on the eve of the day dedicated to celebrating American independence, while at the same time the Supreme Court has wrested a critical form of it from half the population.

I’m not thinking specifically about the Roe vs. Wade decision that has already taken place. I’m now thinking about what happens next. I ponder the words. The words used by journalists and analysts to cover the outcome and projected impact of the verdict. The words used by politicians to reinforce their political positions for the upcoming midterm elections. Finally, I love to think of the words immediately uttered by US companies like Apple, Disney and JP Morgan that promised to pay female employees who have to travel abroad to have an abortion.

I think the promise is correct. I also think that the companies making these pledges should hold their corporate leaders responsible for supporting these communications with aligned campaign contributions. If I were an investigative journalist, I would search the political donation records of every executive I could find—from the CEO to the board of directors.

If any of them have supported Trump or his maga-minds, they are contributing to the divided and devastated situation the US now finds itself in.

As companies here in Ireland and around the world pledge their commitment to support freedom, independence, diversity, equity and inclusion, I encourage all of us to check that their commitment goes beyond mere words.

Here are some commitments you can make as a leader.

LOCATION FREEDOM

When it comes to getting people back into the office, Tesla’s Elon Musk may have said what many executives privately thought when he notoriously wrote, “If you don’t show up, we’ll assume you’ve resigned.” But I wholeheartedly agree with my colleague Adrian Weckler, who devoted a previous column to this topic, that Musk is wrong. The quickest way to roll back the increased trust and autonomy your company offers to employees who have proven they can work from home is to deny them the choice to move on. Yes, I’m pro-choice here too.

Don’t suddenly announce a surprise policy from some ivory tower. Unlike US Supreme Court justices, as a corporate team leader, you do not have a lifetime position. Rely on the hybrid model for the time being. And while you continue to provide flexibility to your employees, survey them to understand how and when you’ll need to adjust your models in the future.

FREEDOM TO FAIL

Leaders need to create a culture of innovation, experimentation, and creativity, and then focus on pursuing progress, not perfection. Sure, provide guardrails and guidelines by setting project deadlines and milestones to review that progress. But encourage your employees to develop their own strategies, approaches and working styles.

Mistakes and failures will happen. How you react makes all the difference.

For example, one of my sales managers recently designed and launched an email campaign to ask former coaching clients if they would like further engagement or could offer a referral. Great idea and I left it to him. Until I received an unexpected, direct message of frustration from one of those who received an email.

The senior manager told me he couldn’t believe he had just received a group message that had been sent to every coaching client in his organization. Oh no. I couldn’t believe it either. I didn’t even think to warn my seller about sending a group email. Although employees can be part of the same corporate family, that doesn’t mean they want everyone else to know they’ve received coaching.

I could get angry, or I could use this as a learning opportunity. I curated a Lesson Learned session to share and even celebrate the misstep. When you are confident that the motivations and intentions should lead to a positive outcome, you should allow your employees to be the imperfect people they are.

As an afterword, I personally spoke to this former customer. He accepted my apology and we made a good comeback. There will likely even be some repeat business. Remember, if you want to make omelets, you need to break some eggs.

FREE SPEECH

Say yes to a culture that welcomes diverse opinions, perspectives and viewpoints. But say a firm “no” to lying, evasion, personal attacks, gossip, and all other destructive forms of communication.

The three conservative justices appointed to the Supreme Court in the Trump administration said one thing during their hearings, but their records and subsequent judgments said otherwise. Why did anyone expect a different outcome when such a dishonest leader chose these people?

https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/a-few-words-about-the-responsibility-of-words-41807676.html A few words about the responsibility of words

Fry Electronics Team

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