February 2020 Edition Welcome to February, this month we focus on fascinating new information about who really runs the corporate culture. Turns out,

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February 2020 Edition

Welcome to February, this month we focus on fascinating new information about who really runs the corporate culture. Turns out, based on research from the Ethics Compliance Initiative (ECI) and the LRN Corporation that it’s really the first line supervisor who has the most impact. This information leads to two other subjects:

Understanding where employees actually get information
Better Understanding why people come to work each day and why the vast majority simply want to go home on time

This newsletter, in addition to our cover story, has links to four important documents:

Rethinking Employee Communications: a Strategic Analysis
Mastering the Politics of Employee Communications
The Link Between Supervisors, Leadership, and Workplace Behaviors: a Global Look
The 2019 Global Business Ethics Survey: ECI Ethics Compliance Initiative

There’s an amazing amount of information to absorb in part 1 of this newsletter and in part 2, which will appear next month, some surprises as I talk the politics of employee communication.

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How and Where Employees Actually Get Their Information. Do You Really Know?

“Who are they? Who are these people who come to work here every day? What are they about? Why can’t we communicate with them? Why won’t they listen? Why won’t they just do what they’re told to do?” - the words of countless frustrated managers.

Getting through to workers to influence their behavior, attitudes, and work habits is one of the most frustrating aspects of organizational management. How can senior executives, supervisors, and managers generate enough loyalty, motivation, and focus to move the organization forward each day despite rumors, uncertainty, “failed opportunities,” abrupt shifts in direction, obvious mistakes in decision making, and the daily sense that there really is no one in charge, no plan, or apparent strategy in place to meet future contingencies.

The greatest continuing area of weakness in management practice remains the human dimension. In good times or bad, there seems to be little real understanding of the relationships between managers, among employees, and interactions between the two. When there are problems, everyone acknowledges that the cause often is “a communications breakdown.” So now what?

Lukaszewski’s Theory of Employee Information Sources

For management to lead, it must know and be in the pipeline where employees get their information. This is my empirical analysis based on nearly forty years of observing and clarifying how and where employees get information from the various levels within their organization.

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This chart illustrates three realities:

1. Senior management does have an impact on culture and information, but other management actors have more.
2. With all due respect to the chief executive, the impact of information, as well as quantity escalates as the management level is closer to the employee.
3. While the importance of first line supervisors to employees has been known for a long time, it is often overpowered by two other information sources, T.G/G.N.T.M. (The Guy or Girl Next to Me) and the I.M.I.U. factor (I Made It Up).

Intermittently, through my extensive work with senior and chief executives it is clear that these people wind up making up a large share of the information that they provide simply because no one else has it and the organization needs it.

Interestingly enough, the communication responsibilities of management remains pretty much the same even in the most contentious and irritating situations. Truth is, contentiousness and irritating situations are the daily communications responsibilities of leaders.

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New Resource: Supervisors Set True Tone in Organization:

“Mood in the Middle”

Adapted from LRN Corporation Newsletter: The E&C Pulse
Feb. 5, 2020

The ethics mantra in recent years was “tone at the top,” which, of course, matters very much when it comes to setting expectations for an organization, and for showing that the people leading the enterprise are serious about ethics, integrity, and doing the next right thing.

Now, the emphasis is on “mood in the middle,” driven daily by the people who are your managers and supervisors, who have the most direct interaction with employees.

This is a smart change in emphasis, as research, including from LRN, shows the essential role supervisors play in embedding and reinforcing culture.

The latest evidence comes from ECI and its recently released Global Business Ethics Report. (Click here to read the report) The report spotlights the critical role supervisors play when it comes to influencing employees about whether they have trust in reporting misconduct that accountability will occur; and for how workers will perceive the acceptability of seeing coworkers being publicly reprimanded, or experiencing gender discrimination.

The report asked employees in 18 countries and found those with supervisors that possessed strong leadership skills were more likely to succeed than those who worked with weak leaders. Workers in four of the five geographical regions surveyed said they wouldn’t accept such behavior, but the results showed many employees are not seeing evidence of effective leadership from their supervisors.

This matters because ECI found employees who perceive their supervisors to be strong leaders are two times more likely to be surprised if:

Their supervisor observed misconduct and didn’t report it;
Coworkers observed misconduct and didn’t report it;
Misconduct was reported and not investigated; and if
There was no disciplinary action taken following an investigation that substantiated misconduct.

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Lukaszewski’s Strategic Rethinking of Employee Communications

By James E. Lukaszewski, published in 2014

“Who are they? Who are these people who come to work here every day? What are they about? Why can’t we communicate with them? Why won’t they listen? Why won’t they just do what they’re told to do?” - the words of countless frustrated managers.

Getting through to workers to influence their behavior, attitudes, and work habits is one of the most frustrating aspects of organizational management. How can senior executives, supervisors, and managers generate enough loyalty, motivation, and focus to move the organization forward each day despite rumors, uncertainty, “failed opportunities,” abrupt shifts in direction, obvious mistakes in decision making, and the daily sense that there really is no one in charge, no plan, or no strategy in place to meet future contingencies.

The greatest continuing area of weakness in management practice is the human dimension. In good times or bad, there seems to be little real understanding of the relationships between managers, among employees, and interactions between the two. When there are problems, everyone acknowledges that the cause often is “a communications breakdown.” So now what?

Enter the management communications strategist whose objective is to rethink, refocus, and then restructure the goals and objectives of this critical part of effective organizational management. The strategist might use these steps.

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In the March Issue: The Politics of Employee Communication

In the March issue we’ll cover one more crucial topic on the subject of employee communications, The Politics of Employee Communication or, how to make employee engagement a reality in your organization. It’s about helping people to understand what’s going on from their perspective so they can be more in tune with their organization. It also sets up a feedback or monitoring process that makes employees and audiences more a part of operations, decision making, and thinking. I’ll talk about and explain a model developed by Paul Ridgeway Sr. a number of years ago when we worked together on divising business generated public actions which required extensive employee involvement. If you want to understand the framework for keeping employees engaged and providing feedback, the Ridgeway approach is a very simple, sensible, doable, and tested model.

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Special Notice

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