Sixty-three feet ahead

On a recent trip to Connecticut through New York State, we pulled up behind a tractor-trailer from Lincoln, Nebraska on the I-90. On the back of the trailer was written: “Our most valuable resource sits 63 feet ahead.” As we pulled out to pass, we saw the same message on the side of the trailer with an arrow that ran the full length of the rig ending at the cab and the driver inside. We felt good about the company. We felt happier for the driver.

If you own a smartphone, a personal computer, and have access to the Internet, you know how easy it is to communicate. In fact, compared with 20 years ago, all three are so easy to use, so all pervasive and so reliable that we barely give the two-way communication a second thought. But apply that same technology to the workplace and what you have is Will it leave you feeling like that driver?

On the face of it, corporate speak makes perfect sense. Organizations have to get the message out to the troops. Management pays for the network so it owns it. It also owns and controls what flows across it. But what, if anything, flows back?

As you contemplate your next move up the corporate or career ladder, you might want to consider taking a hard look at what your prospective employer will be communicating to you, how — technologically and otherwise — and to what end. Who will benefit more from coaching, team building exercises, motivational speakers, the implementation of new systems, outsourcing, off shoring and downsizing? You or the people in the C-suite?

If you have an axe to grind, will they be prepared to listen? If you read on this blog about changes in the economy, the regulatory environment or competitors rumoured to be on the verge of introducing services or products that will impact negatively on you and your colleagues, will they have a plan to deal with the threat, let alone share it with you? Or, as in the case of RIM, will they bury their collective heads in the sand?

The relationship between shareholders, management and the troops has never been as rancorous or as stressful as it is now. Lifestyles and retirements are hanging by a thread. You deserve to feel and be treated like that driver, and you don’t have to hail from Lincoln. PDD’s been thinking about it. We’d like you to think about it, too.

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