Posted tagged ‘engaging employees’

Winning The Workplace

March 18, 2010

Douglas Conant as CEO of the Campbell Soup Company oversees an organization with 20,000 people. Over his many years of experience Conant has learned a lot about leading an organization. The Gallup Management Journal has an interesting article where Conant is interviewed and provides some valuable insight on organizational leadership.

A few excerpts from the interview:

  • “The essence of my leadership philosophy is … you have to inspire trust, and once you earn people’s trust, you have permission to do some amazing things. Trust gives you the permission to give people direction, get everyone aligned, and give them the energy to go get the job done. Trust enables you to execute with excellence and produce extraordinary results. As you execute with excellence and deliver on your commitments, trust becomes easier to inspire, creating a flywheel of performance.”
  • “I strongly believe that you can’t win in the marketplace unless you win first in the workplace. If you don’t have a winning culture inside, it’s hard to compete in the very tough world outside. Our mission is to build the world’s most extraordinary food company by nourishing people’s lives everywhere, every day. You can’t ask employees to achieve extraordinary results if they’re not fully engaged. That’s why we focus a great deal on getting the workplace right so that people are engaged and proactive — so that people are moving forward arm in arm and competing with a spring in their step. As they become more engaged, they find ways to win in the marketplace that are sustainable.”
  • “… I decided it was important for me to be more visible in my leadership. Although the company knows me pretty well, having been here since 2001, I started walking around headquarters every day. I have a pair of sneakers, and whenever I have a half hour free, I put on my sneakers and I start walking the halls. I stop and talk to people. And it gives me a sense of the pulse of the company.”

Organizational success is dependent on how trusting and engaged employees are. You cannot accomplish anything in an environment that is toxic with distrust. Conant has identified some key steps for achieving organizational success. Build trust, engage employees and get out of your office to obtain the pulse of your organization. I believe strongly in the concept of management by walking around. It is important to speak with people at all levels of an organization as you learn a great deal in doing so. Over the years I have seen many leaders who spend too much time in their office.

What do you think about Conant’s comments and the concept of management by walking around?