Some of you will have seen the tv reality show, The Choir; it’s been going for a while now and I’ve always enjoyed it, as much for Gareth Malone’s enthusiasm and empathy, as the music…I find the whole programme uplifting.
What I’m noticing in this series, much more than I did in the first though, are the workplace relationships within the organisations featured. Almost all of them are fractured to some extent, with workplace hierarchies appearing to have a very real impact on the self worth issues of those at the bottom of the pecking order.
Even in the fire service, which for me was the most united by a common cause, we had a ‘them and us’…the fire fighters and the support staff…with the latter clearly feeling in some way ‘less important’ than their more heroic colleagues. Interestingly it showed up in the power of their singing too.
The programme featuring Sainsburys was the most fascinating, so diverse was the workforce, and so disjointed…and Gareth really struggled to unite those from the ‘Ivory Tower’ of head office, with the shop floor workers and the warehouse guys. The hierarchy…or was it the culture…appeared so firmly entrenched that the 3 groups didn’t appear to think they should talk to one another, let alone know how to.
Of course these are all big organisations, and it’s easy to see how these fractures develop. It can often be because those on their feet all day, doing what they consider to be the ‘hard work’, and the unsociable hours, can grow resentful of those who they perceive to be sitting on their backsides all day in the office, drinking coffee…and taking home more money. That’s an over-simplification, but you get my drift.
So what about our much smaller businesses? Are our teams fractured in the same way?
If the culture of any organisation is built around the beliefs and behaviours of the leader, which is my view…what are we doing day to day to ensure that all of our team is united around ‘our cause’? How are we promoting the value to our business of everyone who works for us; making sure that each individual knows that their contribution is key to the whole team succeeding; that no one is more or less important than anyone else?
What would Gareth Malone find if he came to our business to build a choir?