One of the challenges for many CEOs, particularly in larger organisations, is to get their people to stop working in silos and to start thinking in terms of the business as a whole.
In tougher economic climates, in particular, we often see a level of tension between the different functions as each endeavours to do their absolute best, sometimes without being mindful of the impact of their actions on other parts of the business.
For example, such tensions can occur between the sales and finance functions. The sales people feel justified and certain that they ‘needed to negotiate to this level in order to secure the business.’
The finance people are frustrated that the sales people didn’t follow the processes and protocols, and that there is a genuine risk associated with their actions.
And when there are internal tensions like these, they will also be apparent to your clients.
The tension can show in subtle ways, like the pause or tone of voice when a person’s name is mentioned.
They are more visible when the person says to the client, “Well, he actually shouldn’t have told you that, it’s not correct” or “I’m forever fixing her mistakes, it’s lucky I’m good at it and I don’t mind doing it” or “I’m going to need to talk to Nick about these promises he’s making. We’re really not making any money on this deal.” And the list of blames and excuses goes on.
When clients hear these types of comments you should hardly be surprised that they reflect on the wisdom of their decision and perhaps go to one of your competitors next time.
Or if they do stay, it will certainly not be as an advocate of your business, and this generates the risk that they can be more easily drawn to try one of your competitors.
Often this tension boils down to a lack of trust between functions. Perhaps it’s because they are worried about who will be blamed if things go wrong, concerned about who will get the recognition if things go right, or because of the competition for limited resources.
Building trust takes energy and time. But ‘time’ in itself won’t build trust. There are three specific techniques to help build high levels of trust, and the benefits of utilizing these techniques are tremendous for a business. I have witnessed extraordinary, positive changes in the level of trust as a result of coaching people in these techniques.
To your team’s success,