Author of "This Is Rage" and "Endless Encores"

Posts made in August, 2017

You Can’t Fix Morale

By on Aug 6, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Here’s a phone call I sometimes receive, usually from someone senior in executive management or the investment team behind a once promising company: Inquirer: Hey, we need your help with something. We have a situation and we’re not sure what to do about it. Me: Sounds intriguing. What is the situation? Inquirer: Well, we’re having… I’m not sure what you would call it exactly, I guess a problem with morale. Me: What would you like me to do? Inquirer: We would like you to help us fix morale. Me: Oh, that. I’m sorry, I can’t help you. Inquirer: We haven’t spoken two minutes and you already know that? Me: Yes, I’m quite sure. I certainly would like to take your money because I’m sure you are willing to pay a lot to do something about this, but I only take on projects where I can actually help someone. Inquirer: How can you be so sure? Me: You can’t fix morale. Inquirer: What do you mean? Morale gets fixed all the time. Me: Yes, exactly. Morale gets fixed because whatever is causing it to deteriorate gets fixed, but that is where you need to look, at the disease, not a symptom. Inquirer: Are you saying we need to fix something else in our company so that maybe it can have an impact on morale? Me: Yes, that is what I am saying. In fact, you probably need to fix your company. Inquirer: So a contract to fix morale is not big enough for you? You want a bigger contract to fix our company? But our company is not broken. Me: Then you probably don’t have a morale problem and don’t need any help. Inquirer: You’re not doing yourself any favors turning this down. It’s a big project. We have a sizeable budget for it. Me: It’s tempting, but why don’t you have another look at the situation and maybe we can talk again. The call usually ends there and we don’t talk again. Every once in a while we do talk again and then I tend to get involved in long stretches of dialogue with team members up and down the line. We talk about a lot of things: leadership...

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