Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Work With Locations

If you work for a large organization with a main headquarters and numerous locations, you’ll relate well to this. There’s always been a disconnection in most organizations with an organizational structure such as this, mostly because the locations are out of sight and out of mind. It's like trying to hold on to a long distance relationship. For some people it works well. For others . . . not so well.

HQ’s commonly develop SOPs and policies and distribute them with no thought on how they’re going to impact locations around the region or country. In organizations set up like this, you don’t have one culture. You may have one “corporate” culture, but there are numerous sub-cultures within it. Just the fact that you have locations around the country in the North, South, East, and West is going to give you four sub-cultures. People are brought up differently and have different work ethics in various geographic areas. Age variations and length of employment also create sub-cultures of their own which often stress different beliefs and actions. The authoritarian, “my way or the highway” thinking of HQ can do more damage to the overall organization than anything else. Internal strife is hard to deal with.

Now if you want to add mergers to the mix, you’ve just doubled the number of your cultures and sub-cultures. This will take extra involvement all the way around. But that's for another blog.

The means to solving these issues takes effort from all locations, but in the end, it’s HQ that has to take the time to truly care and implement solutions for everyone. Someone (management), needs to travel to your various locales and sit down and truly watch and listen so that you can get an accurate picture of what’s going on and what people need to do their jobs to the best of their ability. This act alone will build trust just because you made the effort to get involved with those that feel they're not being heard.

If you don’t listen and your locations are continually fighting to be heard, they’ll eventually give up. Then you’re in for lackluster, unproductive work. Their customer service suffers and retention suffers. What’s good for me isn't necessarily what’s good for you. Stop, look, and listen.

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