Jun 21

Dead Fish Always Swim with The Stream

Stephan Polomski
Stephan Polomski is director human resources, coach and trainer

It is by branding that customers are invited to dream away, as long as they are willing to pay. And no product evokes more dreams than a car like Porsche, BMW, Audi or Mercedes Benz granting the endowment of power, prestige, and status. Or: ecology, family and individuality. Just choose the product, the brand delivers what egos need for enhancement. Sales statistics show, that automotive branding and sales are very successful in Germany and abroad. It is time to celebrate and to set up even bigger ambitions and objectives.

In Wolfsburg, home town of Volkswagen, an International Automotive Trend Forum recently took place in May. Lecturers were deploying their prognostics what to do in order to sale more cars worldwide. Among all the marketers, it was Albert Nussbaum, a psychologist and German Chief of Mercuri Urval, who as HR consultant took it – with a smile – for granted that the audience knew the results of the latest Gallup survey: That 70 % of employees do not identify with their work in Germany. And after many charts this very day of “How to raise sales?” he asked the diabolic question what all the marketers in audience would do if 70 % of their customers would feedback to them that they are not satisfied with their product, that they do not identify with their brand and that – consequently – customer loyalty is going down dramatically.

“Yeah, what would a marketing or sales director do, when 70 % of customers do not identify with his brand and products?”

Yeah, what would a marketing or sales director do, when 70 % of customers do not identify with his brand and products?

And what is the same person doing facing the results of an engagement survey of his employees?

There are some companies – big names – who have dreadful employee feedbacks.

Of course: the war for talent in the labor market for engineers is not really a war for big employer brands like Porsche, BMW, Audi or Mercedes Benz. The war for talent takes place among the medium sized companies.

During the coffee breaks of the International Automotive Trend Forum in Wolfsburg I could not help to realize that most of the managers and representatives there have lost their sense for issues which go beyond sales and margin, beyond efficiency and processes. They lost their roots into what it means to be responsible for human beings, to educate and socialize them positively and to furthermore shape and build societies, their values and ethics.

The only vocabulary is margin, money, growth, sales, more, faster, smarter decorated with arrogance, cynicism and narcissism.

Is that inspiring? No.

Does that create motivation? Not really.

Does this lead out of the box? Of course not: the penalty of death, the layoff, awaits.

Certainly: sales, structure, work flow, branding are important. The own career enhancement is important as well. And then, what is next? Is that all? It seems so.

No sustainability, no people management, no vision beyond growth. If you come up with these topics, people glance at you like an alien. No leadership by meaning. Flipping through the Harward Business Review and listen to dinner speaches, yes, please, but, please, do not bother us when it comes to daily business. Not a glimpse of what it could mean to embody a manager´s role beyond margin, corporate politics and personal career management. Soldiers obeying to orders, securing the status quo, and never ever challenging the corporate system as the own job and survival is depending on it. Not one out of the box.

Inside the box, inside the golden cage, main stream paradigms help to celebrate the own magnitude.

Wonderful. Cheers.

And what about the mentioned 70 percent disengaged and unsatisfied people?

It is just the same: subordinates follow the same mechanisms and the same principles modelling exactly the culture which is shown by leaders. The workforce comes up with the same arguments and paradigms in the same box, in the same golden cage which drives and motivate action and behavior: me, me, me, more, more, more. And this is the worst finding for me.

In this game there is no victim. And there is no wrongdoer.

It is human nature´s game.

I should accept the reality that especially dead fish always swim with the stream – and watch out for the living among employees and managers.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 21st, 2012 at 02:00 and is filed under Human Resources, Leadership, Management, Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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