It comes as no comfort to marketers fearful of their jobs that their
bosses feel more secure in theirs.
In Marketing’s Chief Executives Survey (page 22), 13% feel less
confident than a year ago, 58% feel the same and 29% are more confident.
Harriot Lane Fox comments: ‘These disparities show something is clearly
wrong with communication either up or down the management chain.’
The evidence from all the 1995 employee surveys conducted by MORI and
presented by its director Susan Walker at the ‘Blood and Money’
conference this week (see page 2), shows that while most employees rate
good internal communications as very important, only a small minority
(17%) are kept fully informed. More worrying, slightly less than half
understand their company’s objectives.
Is there any starker indictment of the people management and
communication skills of Britain’s top bosses than that their people
don’t know what their company is trying to achieve? At a time when
Britain’s commercial position in Europe and the world is in need of
inspirational leadership, the picture that emerges is one of ivory tower
remoteness and complacency.
This, surely, is the context in which the debate this year about
standards in public life and top people’s pay must be seen. It isn’t
just politicians and the Royal Family who have lost respect. Employees
are losing confidence in their bosses’ abilities, but more significantly
in their commitment to their own people. Loyalty, the marketing buzzword
of 1995, has declined in the workplace, according to MORI.
The contrast with those bosses who lead from the front could hardly be
greater. Witness the success of Capital Radio plc under Richard Eyre, or
the meteoric growth of Carphone Warehouse under Charles Dunstone.
In a handwritten reply to a questionnaire about company culture, Sir
Richard Greenbury, boss of Marks and Spencer, put at the top of the
page, in capitals and underlined, ‘PEOPLE FIRST’.
There is no better axiom to engrave on the hearts of Britain’s bosses as
we strive to keep our place at the world’s commercial top table.