Reading Comprehension 014


Most advice given to executives about communicating change is wrong. The advice usually boils down to more values, missions and vision; more videos, publications and meetings; more executive road shows. This communication is not working. Why would anyone want more of it?

More of what executives already do will not solve their communication problems. Practical experience and decades of research suggest a new approach. In 1993, Wyatt Company (now Watson Wyatt Worldwide) investigated 531 U.S. organisations undergoing major restructuring. Wyatt asked the CEOs- If you could go back and change one thing, what would it be? The most frequent answer: The way I communicated with my employees. The next time you communicate major change to  your frontline employees, do it differently. Communicate only facts; stop communicating values. Communicate face-to-face; do not rely on videos, publications or large meetings. And target frontline supervisors; do not let executives introduce the change to frontline employees.

Before going any further, let's clarify two points. First, our advice concerns the communication of the sort of change that most companies face in every five to ten years. We are talking about change that is necessary because the company's survival may be at stake, not about everyday operational changes. Second, our advice is about reaching and changing frontline employees in large companies. Frontline employees such as bank tellers, truck drivers, processors of insurance forms, airline counter staff, welders and telephone installers are the people making the product or delivering the service. If you want these people to change the way they do their jobs, then you must change the way you communicate with them.

The urge to wrap a change in a value is irresistible. But the urge to communicate your values is proof positive that you are not acting on them. The only effective way to communicate a value is to act in accordance with it and give others the incentive to do the same. If you value customer service, for instance, then recruitment, performance appraisals, promotions and bonuses should be based on customer service performance. Creating objective measures for such performance will demonstrate your values much more clearly than your words ever can. Stopping the value talk is itself a radical change, especially considering that, according to the Wyatt study, 68 percent of large companies consider missions and values to be their number one communication priority. We appeal to your intuition and common sense. Imagine meeting a business contact for the first time. This person hands you a card and says, "I want you to know my values. They are written here: I promise not to
lie, cheat or steal during any business transaction." Does that put you at ease? No - it makes you suspicious and it does so because people reveal their values through their actions, not through their words. Talking about values signals that fraud is near.

What is true for people is true for organisations. In 1992, the Jensen Group, a change-management communication firm in Morristown, New Jersey, researched 23 large U.S. companies, including American Express, AT&T, Chemical Bank, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Mobil, Texaco and Warner-Lambert. Seventy percent of the companies had revised their corporate missions during recent restructuring; only 9 percent felt that revising their missions helped them to achieve the objectives of the restructuring. If you break the rule that values are best communicated through actions, employees will punish you. We have watched employees turn the slogans `Quality in Everything We Make into Quality Is Everything We Fake'; `Beliefs We Share into [expletive] We Share'; and `Working with Pride into Working for [expletive]'. You might ask - Should we abandon our mission campaign just because of smart-aleck remarks from a handful of cynics? The question denies the reality. The frontline workforce is not sprinkled with a handful of cynics; it is cynical through and through. According to a study by Philip Mirvis and Donald Kanter published in the autumn 1989 issue of the National Productivity Review, 43 percent of employees believe that management cheats and lies.

In their research, Mirvis and Kanter found that the frontline workforce is the most cynical group of all. The latest wave of downsizings has made this bad situation worse. A 1994 study by the Council of Communication Management shows that 64 percent of employees believe that management is often lying. As reported in the Wall Street Journal (November 2, 1992), two-thirds of senior personnel managers surveyed by Right Associates, a human resources consulting firm based in Philadelphia, said that employees trust management less after a restructuring. Face it: employees will infer what you value, from your behavior. They will adopt your values only if they are convinced that those values will enable them to attain their personal goals. Propaganda won't help.

In fact, it could hurt. At a large manufacturing company undergoing major change, thousands of employees watched as senior managers unveiled a new mission. Thousands more witnessed the unveiling by satellite. The slogan `Trust, Teamwork and Tomorrow' was on a huge banner behind the speaker's platform. As employees left the presentation, they received pens, caps and coffee mugs inscribed with the three Ts. When they returned to work, however, they found a letter to employees from the union posted on every bulletin board. This well-documented letter accused the company of hiring private investigators to watch employees suspected of stealing, using drugs and making fraudulent disability claims. Investigators watched employees both during and after work, the letter claimed and watched some employees even during the `Trust, Teamwork and Tomorrow' launch. 1. Which of the following agrees with the central idea of the passage? The best way to communicate values is to act in accordance with them. Revising restructuring plans can help to achieve mission objectives. Behavioral pursuits are most important things. "Value communication" is a treacherous path.



Please Log in or Register to view the questions.


Q1 Your answer was wrong for this question. The correct answer is: a

Q2 Your answer was wrong for this question. The correct answer is: b

Q3 Your answer was wrong for this question. The correct answer is: d

Q4 Your answer was wrong for this question. The correct answer is: d

Q5 Your answer was wrong for this question. The correct answer is: a

Q6 Your answer was wrong for this question. The correct answer is: d

Q7 Your answer was wrong for this question. The correct answer is: d

Number of Questions: 7
Number of Attempts: 7
Correct Answers: 0

Your Overall Score is -7. This is a below average score. Please give a better try in next test

Do you like to you update your new score ?

Accuracy Indicator

Performance Pointer

Sponsered Links

All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2006-10