Reading between the lines

John started as CFO at a massive global corporation, and he was charismatic, astute and a great leader. He had all the IQ and EQ smarts and was the guy everyone would listen to. When he accepted the role, he knew that it was a great opportunity but had an intuition that something was amiss culturally.

John patiently got to know the team, the people and started understanding the culture of the organization. He soon realized that although it was a wonderful organization and a great commercial brand, the attrition rate was still exceptionally high and there was an unusually high amount of litigation cases. John was old schooled with his knowledge and experience but at the same time so forward thinking and tech savvy and his ability to embrace change and shape the mindsets of his fellow board members was nothing short of phenomenal.

Sadly, John realized one big truth in that both he and his colleagues were being fed information that their subordinates thought they wanted to hear rather than the cold hard truth. This was dangerous on all fronts.

He decided to do some investigating and started scrutinizing the payroll records for irregular payouts, retrenchment costs, performance costs and checked the recruitment costs within the organization. He started cross referring the labour litigation costs and looked at facility costs, health and safety, software and hardware costs, coffee and tea, toilet paper and printing, security costs per employee and the results were startling. John realized that each employee that had left the organization either voluntarily or involuntarily truly costed the organization a significant amount of money which was eroding the bottom line. He had to do something more proactively to stop the bleeding.

After also realizing that the company did not have adequate policy in place to deal with some of these issues and that training was lacking for Senior Leadership, he quickly tabled this with the EXCO and soon thereafter the organization procured the services of external experts for a full-on intervention to eradicate these systemic injustices that were eating at the company bottom line. Within six months, the organization had a significant positive trend in terms of professionalism, attitude and staff were more motivated and upbeat. John knew that the financial year end would yield much more positive results for the organization.

The hidden truths

Too many times as Leaders we are told watered down versions of what is happening in the organization and fabricated truths for some obscure reason such as either fear from the subordinate or even just boosting ego`s. Nevertheless, this is never good on any organization and transparency and honesty goes a long way to ensuring the correct decisions are taken to keep the organization safe and financially sound.

The world as we know it today is a cold and harsh place and most people will use it for their own advantage. You as a person can and will be pushed and shoved and tested on several fronts. People will maliciously take from you without blinking and eyelid. When you are down someone or circumstance will try and keep you there. Someone will try and take your last dime from you without a care in the world.

However, at work we have the advantage of controlling those costs by identifying and taking corrective measures to not allow them to be frivolously exploited and squandered. As a Leader today, you have a duty to the organization to lead by example and to influence others positively to achieve common organizational goals and bring out the best in people. Take note of the things that matter and listen more attentively whilst using sound judgement to discern between what is real and what is perceived.