Matts Rehnstrom – Shaper of Business Excellence
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“The leaders do not understand what is needed”

Welcome to this edition of the Business Excellence Article. Spring is here and as the sun is shining and the warmth returns, new ideas are flourishing as well.

I often meet employees who say that the leaders of the organization “do not understand anything” about what is needed for the business and what improvements  need to be done. The workforce is aware of those needs, as they are the ones working closely with the creation of value for the customer.

They see things that need to be done but they will never have the permission from the leaders to do something about it.

The first argument is that “we have things to do” and this means that there is no time to work on other things. I think that the leaders are afraid of letting go of the day to day work and that this will be neglected if they let people work on some other projects on the side.

The second argument is that there is no money put aside to run the projects in the business. There is only money for the daily business and the budget is so tight that there is no surplus whatsoever. That is a huge mistake, as there should always be resources put aside for improvement.

I think that all of this is twofold: Firstly, there is not enough trust from the leadership in the staff, to leave them to take their own initiative. Then there is only a one-way communication working in the organization, and that is from the leaders down.

To take the first thing first, trust in the people working does not exist in the organization, that they themselves can run the business. Many leaders see the workforce as people executing the orders from the top, and not as associates running the operation together as a team.

I believe that this is due to a lack of vision, goals and strategies, and also that many leaders in the world see themselves as more educated and intelligent than the rest. That sounds strange in a modern world, but many surveys show that people who attain a higher position have tendency to see themselves as better than others. Not all, but enough to create a problem. If we could see that we work in an organization together, in different roles, with the same assignment to satisfy the customer, we might also understand that everyone plays a part in the team.

By the way, a team is not the same thing as a group, it is a well functioning group of people working towards the same clear goal.

Secondly, as a result of the first issue, I see that there is also a lack of two-way communication. Usually there are information meetings, where the leaders explain things to the workforce. These meeting are in a form that does not support a two-way communication. There is one person communicating to many. The audience does not feel comfortable, or feel that it is possible, to ask questions or have opinions in these kinds of meetings.

Many organizations do not set up a structure to handle continuous improvements either. That means that the workforce ends up with having all these ideas but no one to tell them to. That creates frustration and the feeling that the leadership does not understand, nor care about what they have to say.

That is a pity, as the organization is then missing a lot of good suggestions of things to improve. It is also means missing a lot of effort being directed into the business, as the frustration feeds the feeling of the business is “not my business” and “I don´t care”.

All that is negative for the customer, and as a consequence also negative for the business.

Make sure that the vision, goals and strategies are clear to the team. To make sure how to do it, click the link:

It is important that the team themselves have been a part of producing them. Also, as a leader, handover the power to control the business to those who run it operationally. Give them the foundation and possibilities, and then get out of the way.

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To you and your organization’s excellence.

About the Author Matts Rehnstrom

Matts helps Business Analysts, especially those who work in government administration, to design efficient and high quality business processes for their clients so they are able to deliver value in a sustainable and transparent manner. With over 20 years of advanced business process design in both IT and government, he can show you a simple ‘Business Excellence’ formula which dramatically reduces the time required to design a process as well as ensures it is created in a way which is optimized for the people who actually do the work. The health of the business and the people working in it is always at the forefront of how I help business analysts design their processes. ➔➔If you are a business analyst who wants to ensure you deliver the best possible outcome for their clients (especially if your current project is not running perfectly according to plan!) then Matts can help you.