Recently, several clients, directly or indirectly asked, “What do we do now? Things are out of control and we don’t know how to handle them”. In some cases, their team members have a lack of interest, in other cases, their behavior is affecting the company’s reputation and output.
In each case, the situation did not just happen overnight; there was an accumulation of “things that were not done” or “things that were not addressed”. It is true that external factors do have an impact, but they are unavoidable, and what we need to do is govern what we can control.
There are at least three aspects that we need to review, and on which we need to act, in order to go from anarchy back to corporate or organizational governance:
1. Everyone needs to know who to report to: it is not fair not having a boss, it is not fair having a boss who does not behave as a boss, it is not fair a team member who does not respect their boss, it is not fair not having a clear line of authority in the flow chart and in real life. Does each team member have someone to be accountable to? Are the bosses requesting accountability?
2. Everyone must know what they are accountable for: it is not fair when people do not know what is expected from them, it is not fair that we do not communicate expected or unacceptable behaviors, it is not fair not knowing what doing things right or doing things wrong looks like. Do we have a written ethics and conduct code? Does every team member have a clear job description?
3. Everyone must know what happens if they do not comply: effective governance requires revision and consequences, it is not fair that people do not know when and how they are going to be evaluated, it is not fair that team members do not know what the consequences are if they do things right or if they do things wrong. Do you evaluate compliance periodically? Are there awards if things are done right? Are there consequences for not doing things correctly?
Note the emphasis in everyone, from the Board of Directors to support staff, exceptions deteriorate governance . Just as it is not lost overnight, governance is not built quickly either, what matters is strengthening or start recovering it now.
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