“If we had known, we could have nipped this in the bud.”
Leadership Fog is created by the layers of management between executive leadership and the front lines of the organization. Through intentional acts, varied perceptions, and unconscious bias, the story about what is really happening within your organization is filtered and changed. Thus, executive leadership is often making decisions based on limited insight. Eliminating the "fog" is key to making the right decisions.
Here is a short story to illustrate this point with the organization name being changed to protect anonymity. Just after the death of George Floyd, the company Acme's executive team met to discuss how they should respond to the racial unrest throughout the country. Based on the fact that they had had not heard any feedback from their middle management, they decided their best course of action was not to make any official statements. Unbeknownst to the executive team, the front lines of the organization were vocalizing the need to support the Black Community. Middle management had received feedback from their people and had filtered it out completely. This angered the front lines of the organization and they organized protests and threatened a walkout. By the time executive leadership was informed, the spark had become a raging fire causing significant damage to the culture they had worked for years to create. Anger, mistrust, and a clear disconnect from stated company values were now at the forefront. “If we had known we could have nipped it in the bud. This has cost us countless hours, significant financial resources, and crushed our culture," says a company executive. In the end, they not only made a statement, but also actively engaged in taking supportive actions. However, the damage had been done and even with consistent efforts it will likely take years to overcome.
Leadership Fog exists within every organization. The people on the front lines of the organization are in the best position to deliver actionable insights and innovation. To be effective, organizations need to gather live daily feedback though active listening. Listening leads to understanding, and once you truly understand your organizational issues, you will be in the right position to address them. Olumo delivers the technology to help you listen daily… at scale. Learn more at Olumo.com