This won't be news to you: Western companies and organizations are falling behind in the global marketplaces.
But this might: Many employees, and their managers, are frustrated by their jobs, even in this economy. In various surveys they report being bored, disinterested, and frustrated.
This malaise is killing productivity and creativity. And, when combined with the aggressive attitudes and business plans of many organizations that are based elsewhere, Western companies and organizations are falling behind in the global marketplace.
I work with clients in countries worldwide. I'm often struck by the lack of energy and enthusiasm they have — even those deemed to be successful. One of the principal reasons for their lack of enthusiasm is their leadership.
When I enter workplaces that have great leaders at the helm, I am struck by the differences in things like noise levels, smiles, looseness, and excitement about progress. However, most aren't like that — the workplace is quiet, people keep their heads down, it feels uptight, smiles are cursory, not genuine.
If you lead an organization, at any level, a part of your job is to help it succeed. I see a common trait in great leaders, at all levels: They don't moan about why they can't make a difference; they just get on with doing what needs to be done. Regardless of your level, if you can't (or don't want to) help the organization to succeed, then do everyone else a favor and get out the way. Otherwise, you're guilty of contributing to the slow death of the entire organization.
In a recently published book What's Wrong with Work? The Five Frustrations of Work and How to Fix Them for Good, former BBC producer Blaire Palmer talks about a few of the reasons behind this malaise. She adds to the issue of inept leadership other factors such as unfairness, blurred vision, and tiresome meetings. She believes that these combine to create an average loss in productivity equal to one day out of five each week. That's a 20% loss of productivity each week.
Noodle on that. And then consider how much time, money, and effort is spent on things like employee rallies, sales contests, and training; each of which will usually result in only a modest (and temporary) productivity improvement.
With money, partnerships, and key personnel, the big Western players are investing in Brazil, India, Russia, and China (BRIC) like mad. They're betting that BRIC will include the best performers in the future, ultimately dwarfing a lot of Western countries in many sectors. It's likely that these countries, along with others, will impact your life in one way or another.
As a leader at any level, you can help change the future in 2011. Will you?
John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion dollar organizations and launching start-ups in both the U.S. and Canada. The author of two published books, he is frequently seen providing advice on TV, in magazines, and newspapers.