December 8, 2008

Superficiality is an organization killer. I am often surprised to see how superficial issues and actions blur the real issues. Through the veil of superficiality, non-significant issues get blown out of proportion while issues of substance concerned with the bigger picture get lost.

During economic downturn, when the going gets tough, an organization is more prone to superficiality. Every small thing looks big and attracts superficial actions. If the organization is not on guard, many small superficial actions become a big bottle-neck to organizational performance and future prospects. Many a time decision makers never realize that their incorrect reading of symptoms results in wrong medication which may turn out to be lethal in the long run.

Let's see how superficiality hurts. In an economic slowdown, often organizations go over the board in their reaction. As a result, superficial and irritating cost cutting exercise is put into place. These cost cutting measures save little money and many times turn out to be rather costly in the long run due to lose of productivity and employee motivation.

Smart organizations don't delve in superficiality. They think of constructive, concrete, and out-of-the-box approaches to survive and prosper in economic blues. For example, when faced with the prospect of an economic downturn, a smart organization may bring in the collective mind of its employees to share ideas and decide on the best course of action, not only to survive but also to grow. Adversity has the unique potential to bring out the best and a collective mind is better prepared to prosper from an adversity. Smart organizations tend to tap into the creative energy of its manpower instead of undertaking superficial measures to straighten things up. This way the employees not only feel engaged and an active part of the organization, but also tend to display high level of energy and motivation to fight any eventuality that the business may face.

The best way to avoid the superficiality trap is not to panic in any kind of economic environment and to always strive to keep the bigger picture in focus. Another thing to keep in mind is that when adversity strikes, stick to your people and channel the power of the collective mind. One can steer around any situation as long as one's people are engaged, energetic, and motivated.

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