I’m happy to let everyone know that the book I co-wrote with Professor Cary Cooper is now available everywhere, published by Palgrave-Macmillan. I’d like to take you through a summary of what we were trying to achieve with the book and what it covers:
–There are many books about morale, and they usually follow the same format: what to do in order to have better morale. We don’t ignore this at all, but it is far from the central focus. Instead we go into an area which, surprisingly, gets little mention even in some of the very best morale books: the performance connection. Many have learned during years of MBA and other management courses that strength in Finance and Strategy are all you need for success and optimum performance. But it has been clear for a while that this is not true, that there is also a people dimension which gets too little attention, a morale effect on organization performance. In short, morale is far more than just “feeling good at work”. It is an essential basis for how well the organization approaches and completes its mission, no matter what it is. If you don’t believe this, imagine wanting to run a marathon but then going to the doctor and finding out that you are barely in shape to run around the block. Your organization’s morale level is the measure of what shape you are in.
–Given this background, and the tendency for morale books to focus only on the “what to do” aspect as opposed to the huge question of “why” morale is so important, it seemed to us that there was an opening, through which we jumped. We were lucky enough to get the cooperation of some of the world’s biggest collectors of employee morale data, such as Gallup and Sirota, and merged that with some of the very best academic research, to make our case. As you will see if you read the book, we find that morale is highly correlated with, and drives, performance in the following areas:
–productivity (many different measures)
–profitability (earnings per share, for example)
–5 year survival rates after an IPO
–customer satisfaction (itself also highly correlated with profitability)
Why is health a performance factor? Because by avoiding the “boss from hell” and his/her effect on morale, for example, you prevent performance draining events such as sickness, with its many human and organizational costs.
–The data are clear: as Gallup states, there is no longer any doubt about the morale/engagement-performance connection. I would add that there is also no doubt about the main direction of that connection (from morale to performance, rather than the other way around, which exists but is a weaker connection). Our own data with Hilti, a client of mine for many years, demonstrated an extraordinary morale-customer satisfaction connection, with that connection strengthening as the customer contact increased (greater for field based sales for example, than office based customer support). The book is full of these and other examples.
–If you are one of the skeptics, I invite you to look into this subject via our book. We debunk the myth of morale as just a feel-good exercise designed and run by HR, and raise it to a far higher level. Other myths about morale are exposed as well. Remember that there is a reason why those with the most difficult and dangerous jobs in the world, our military, place morale at the absolute top of everything they do. They know that morale is “mission critical”, not a “touchy-feely” add-on. Now if more of our business and other organizational leaders could be convinced of this we could find a morale “surge” among workers, and the dramatic performance benefits which come with that. Surely, in a world which has been transformed by financial crisis and ever-increasing competitiveness, we need an “edge”, something which can move us forward in this challenging time. High morale is that edge, and its time has come.
For more information about the book, please visit the tabs above this blog, or if you are reading this elsewhere via RSS feed (like on the book’s Amazon page) please go to www.davidbowles.wordpress.com