If you are working for a company that has a lot of problems, you may begin to wonder how senior management can stand by and not do anything. Although it happens, it is rare that management will do nothing if they know what is going on around them. But what on earth could prevent them from knowing?
Many leaders live in a protected bubble. Not a real plastic bubble type environment, but due to everyone shielding them from reality they are simply not aware. Good excuse, right? Everyone is protecting me from the truth, so it is not my fault I am living in a bubble! I disagree with this lame excuse.
It is possible that the weekly or monthly updates from departments in your company are hiding information, but you are still required to know what is going on and take appropriate action. Especially when there are external sources that can be accessed to obtain information.
For companies that deal with the public, take a stroll through the comments on Yelp.com and see if the client feedback lines up with reality. Are there service issues that need to be addressed, quality control, or employees that are damaging your brand? At the same time, what are clients saying publicly about what they like about your company, product and employees?
While every CEO in America has a vision and mission for a company, they often are under the impression that the work culture is also like what is written on the wall posters. A regular check into an employee feedback website called Glassdoor.com will give the CEO a look at both the good and the bad. I know of many Human Resource Managers that check Glassdoor weekly to make sure they are ahead of the issues.
But what if you are a leader that depends on your direct reports telling you the truth, but they are not telling you the things that are not pleasing? If you fail to research yourself, than who is actually choosing to live in a bubble?
This week I reached out to a CEO with a letter of concern, and four pages of Glassdoor comments in the past 3 months. If I was the CEO, I would be upset to say the least at what is happening at this company. Yet I would also want to know why none of my direct reports have said anything. It takes an external consultant to enlighten me, and only because they want to help me turn things around. The people I am paying to keep things in order have failed to alert me, but a stranger is telling me the cold hard truth.
If this CEO answers me I know that he has been living in a bubble. If I don’t hear back, and nothing changes, then I know he put himself in that bubble on purpose.