Winnipeg Free Press (Canada) (11/24/12) Bowes, Barbara
One’s reputation in the workplace can limit corporate success, and likewise a company’s reputation can affect the bottom line, writes Barbara J. Bowes, president of Legacy Bowes Group and vice-president of Waterhouse Executive Search. For individuals, being known as a procrastinator, for example, can prevent a person from rising into decision-making roles, while having a negative attitude or being rude to colleagues can make enemies who will not support any efforts to take on more responsibility. Organizations also have routines that are essentially unconscious habits that create organizational culture, and often those habits can be obstacles to success. They tend to reflect beliefs and behaviors of previous leaders or corporate founders, and strong new leadership is required to make necessary changes. It is much more difficult to change an entire organization than an individual, but the steps are essentially the same–the organization must first be taken through a systemic review of current practices and areas for change must be identified. This includes a review of organizational dynamics, employee tenures, skills, attitudes and employees’ ability and desire to change. Once the plan for change has been established, leaders then work with stakeholders to communicate the vision and inspire them to take part. They must be shown how they can benefit the organization, and a strong program of training and education may be needed to upgrade skills. There will be growing pains and missteps, but new behaviors need to be part of every-day processes with reward systems to keep momentum going.