Are Executive Decisions turning your Staff into Cannibals?


Cannibal_iStock_000001736217Small“Meet your performance targets or find a new job…”

Tough words which need to be issued carefully.

Given to staff surrounded by great opportunities who are not putting in acceptable levels of effort these words may well initiate positive behaviour (greater effort).

Given to staff already working as hard as they know how within organisations facing market decline these words are likely to stimulate survival behaviours.

In the extreme survival behaviours create cannibals. People willing to go to any length to survive. Dog eat dog modus operandi. Strategy and safety put on hold to chase numbers at any cost. Aggressive “don’t get in my way” body language and communication. Bullies dominate and the weak get eaten.

When executive decisions leave staff with a sense of pending extinction survival instincts kick in. Self-preservation behaviours emerge designed ensure survival without regard to wider or longer term consequences.

Evidence of “hit the numbers at any cost” behaviour include:

  •  Abandoning longer term strategy – in the interest of tactical shorter term gain
  •  Polarising of relationships – you are either with me or against me
  •  Disregarding regret spend – the need to spend money later to fix problems created now
  •  Fudging the numbers – to give the appearance of success
  •  Gaining momentum at the expense of others – disruption in other business units
  •  Losing customer focus – key performance indicators become the only focus

If you are seeing cannibals emerge in your organisation move the goalposts or accept you will have skeletons…

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