Building morale

When facilitating corporate planning sessions, we often discuss teamwork, communications and overall company morale. What we are taking about is emotional equity.
But how does an organization measure this?
Measuring emotional equity within an organization is easy. In our corporate planning sessions, we simply ask each planning team member to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, how they feel the teamwork, communications and company morale is within the organization.
The planning session participants will rate the organization’s effectiveness based on observations from their individual vantage point. If someone perceives the company’s emotional equity to be a 9 and someone else perceives it to be a 3 or a 4, we discuss the reasons for the gap.
We don’t shy away from the tough topics or issues. In fact, it is important for business leaders to foster critical dialog around these tough (emotional) topics recognizing that shying away from topics such as effective teamwork, communications and company morale only serves to erode the emotional equity within an organization.
The level of emotional equity within an organization is a key indicator of future performance.
Everything we do as individuals, departments and companies contributes to creating or destroying emotional equity within organizations. Even though emotional equity is not visibly tangible, nor is it reflected on a balance sheet, emotional equity can be felt and has an absolute impact on an organization’s ability to affect profitable growth.
We hear a lot about the importance of having the correct controls (performance indicators) in place, creating forward visibility regarding an organization’s operating performance. And as discussed in previous columns, leading performance indicators act as an early warning detection system enabling business leaders to quickly spot priorities while making course corrections that will have a positive impact on the earnings performance of the organization.
Successful business leaders understand the cause-and-effect relationship between emotional equity and future financial success.
As with any personal relationship, people within companies consistently make emotional deposits and withdrawals. Deposits build up the equity within the organization, and withdrawals take that equity away. The goal is to have a positive balance in the emotional equity column of the corporate balance sheet.
Organizations that have a low level of emotional equity will find it difficult to solve problems, address obstacles and fully leverage opportunities on a routine basis. In short, the level of emotional equity an organization has is equal to the momentum and success the organization will enjoy.
Creating emotional equity is a byproduct of making emotional deposits into your teammates across all departments. This should be easy for us as long as we focus on building meaningful relationships with our teammates. As mentioned above, emotional equity is nothing more than meaningful teamwork, communications and overall company morale. In simple terms, creating emotional equity is people working well while building meaningful relationships with their internal teammates.
Quarterly operational planning and other corporate habits are very effective at bringing people and departments together, cross-functionally. The purpose of these types of meetings and processes is to gain consensus on top priorities, as well as solutions that support the achievement of the financial goals of the organization.
Business leaders set the tone and are responsible for ensuring emotional equity grows within their organizations. There are many ways to accomplish this and they all stem from the core values an organization holds.
Core values are guidelines that determine individual and organizational actions and behaviors. They are tools and filters that aid us in the management of our business, and they help us to create a healthy level of emotional equity throughout our organization.
Core values provide the answer to the question: What’s important around here? Team compatibility and ultimately corporate success requires that all employees buy into the same set of core values established by the senior management team. If core values are not mutually shared by all members of a team, frustration, anger and even distrust can show up within an organization, destroying emotional equity.
Philip Mydlach is the owner of Mydlach Management Advisors, a corporate planning and performance improvement consulting practice in New Berlin. He can be reached at (262) 785-5552 or pmydlach@aol.com.
Ocober 15, 2004, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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