How taking daily supplements can build an engaged organization

Recently I joined Donald Trump's new business The Trump Network as an independent marketer.  This marks his entry into the growing health and wellness industry using as his vehicle network marketing.  (You can find out more about this at Happy to discuss the whys and wherefores of this decision privately, just call.) The flagship product is Custom Essentials, customized supplements based upon their unique Priva Test results.  This test identifies your metabolic end products, which become the basis for the formulation of your unique daily supplement regimen.  While taking my pills this morning, today’s blog entry came into my mind and a light bulb went off.

Custom Essentials is a great metaphor for building an engaged organization….

Most corporate executives want to do the right thing for their customers and their employees.  Some of you may disagree with this but in my experience people would like to do the right thing. Corporate leaders try to keep up with the latest developments in leadership and human resource technology as well as other technologies directly related to their products or services.  The dilemma they face to go with the one-size fits all version or spending the extra time and money to get a customized analysis?  We know the result.  All too often the choice to “go for it” requires taking a stand, separating oneself from the pack.  For many that energy has gone underground.

An engaged organization is a comprehensive and complex system.  It is unique just as we individuals are.  Many of us have spent hundreds of dollars buying supplements without knowing our personal metabolic needs and studying the wellness field.  In corporations millions of dollars are spent each year on programs intended to improve overall organization effectiveness.  All too often leaders focus on symptoms rather than root causes.  An engaged organization is willing to study itself, to identify its strengths as well as its weaknesses.  Many managers have gotten complacent, with greater comfort in a wait and see what happens in both our lives and in how we lead in the workplace.  We’d rather react than be proactive.  This is especially the case now in the recession.  We do not have a proactive or preventative mindset.  Such a mindset has courage as a staple. I think Toyota is a great example of this.

For years Toyota was the premiere company in quality and customer service.  I would love for a graduate student in organization development to do a PhD dissertation on the demise of Toyota over the last 15 years or so.  Their attitude was preventative, an eastern cultural mindset.  After WWII they worked with Edwards Deming to address actual and stereotypical beliefs about quality.  Those of us who have been around long enough know they introduced the quality circle concept…which brought workers together on a regular basis to discuss ideas for improvement and concerns.  The demise of Toyota we are seeing unfold before our eyes has its roots in decisions that were likely made 5-10 years ago the ramifications of which are only showing up now.

Keeping consistent and using examples from the automotive industry one might think of Hyundai.  Known for its lack of quality but low pricing when first introduced into the US it has steadily grown in reputation and sales.  “Over a 12-year period Hyundai's U.S. market share steadily crept up from 0.6% to 4.2% in 2009. The automaker's share of sales took a great leap forward last year to 4.2%, Autodata says.” This type of turnaround can only happen as part of a conscious effort to improve.  Although still viewed as a value play with customers its price has inched much closer to that of its competitors.

What does this mean for those of us wanting to build engaged organizations?  The work requires us to truly understand and know our companies.  We must put them under a microscope to see what’s really there, what’s not visible to the naked eye.  The analysis must be based on a set of organizing principles that are consistent and hold up whether in good times or bad.  We need to know our corporate values and overall business strategy, have the right network of roles in place to support the business strategy and realize both long and short term goals, have the right people in the right roles, and the polices, systems and procedures that support getting the work done in a timely fashion.  In my next few blogs I intend to address some of the basic principles of an engaged organization and some of the how to’s.  Let me know what you are thinking.