How to manage the decisions of labour environment during the crisis keeping the spotlight at the company’s mission?

21 April 2020



For some weeks, lots of companies have seen themselves in the position to completely or partially shut down all their activity. only some of them have increased the volume of their operations due to their relationship with the healthcare, food industry, etc. dpmc beyond business has been part of an encounter with some companies that practice the management by missions where this question has been arised.

In a graphic between unity and profit, the decisions can be classified into four types:

Competent decisions: they consider the impact different stakeholders may have on the company, especially on the clients, shareholders, and employees. On competent decisions we look to move forward from the tyranny of “or” (employees “or” shareholders “or” clients “or” suppliers) to the freedom of “and” (clients “and” shareholders “and” employees “and” suppliers)

Aggressive decisions: only consider the economic impact of the decision. Ultimately, it is about doing what (wrongly) some business schools and universities have taught: to create a decision tree with alternatives and to choose the one that maximizes profits.

Paternalistic decisions: only consider one of the stakeholders of the company, like employees or clients, ignoring the economic impact the decision implies. Outwardly, they look like decisions that build unity and sense of mission, but because of being inconsistent, these end up causing a negative impact.

Bureaucratic decisions: restricted decisions to the legal and normative compliance in a reactive (or passive) way. These decisions are the worst of them all, without any sense of mission and negative economic consequences, both for the company and its interest group.

The main contributions of the attendee companies at the encounter can be summarized with the following ideas:

  • To focus on the mission requires managers to make decisions keeping in mind the commitments with their interest group (clients, employees, shareholders, suppliers, society, etc.) and the consequences that may have on them.

  • It is necessary to make these decisions consciously, meaning, always looking for doing the right thing with authenticity and coherence with the personal and corporate’s principles.

  • For the attendees this is a good moment to practice pedagogy about the importance of the missions and the role they play to make adequate and prudent decisions.

  • It is easy for any company to fall into the aggressive decisions (only focused on the economic aspect) or paternalistic ones (only focused on one group of interest). To avoid this, it is essential to frequently check the mission as a point of reference for those decisions.

  • Bureaucratic decisions that arrive “badly and late” must be avoided, preventing the opinions from the experts to turn into a decision which always must be made as a final option by the company.

  • Companies that decide to start a temporary employment regulation file have done it to ensure the business’ and employees’ continuum. In other cases, the group of hours or the voluntary reduction of the salaries have been an option.
  • Tensions on treasury that exist in some companies due to the null billing must be considered in all the decisions as one of the most important variables, it can’t be avoided.

  • It has been essential by the companies to open and deploy new channels of communication leaned on the technology to maintain a fluid and immediate communication with the groups of interest, especially with employees and clients.

  • It is necessary for the managers to make an extra-effort to communicate “a lot and well” in front of the communicative toxicity generated on social media.

  • The communication with clients and suppliers that don’t work with a sense of mission and that only look for their interests hasn’t been easy.

  • For these companies, people are still in the middle of the mission. To offer safety in the health of the most vulnerable collectives, all of them hasn’t doubted about facilitating the measures and resources necessary.

  • Some cases can be observed about employees with a sense of purpose that support and express their commitment with the project further on their logical personal concerns (for example, employees that have offered to reduce their salary during this crisis)

It is much appreciated the collaboration with the following companies that practice the management by missions and in some way or other have participated in such encounter: IQ Nalón, Fundería Condals, Teknics, Corporación Jiménez Maña, C&G, Lamaignere, Encasa, Vygón, Semillas Fitó and DPMC Beyond Business. It is also appreciated the collaboration and coordination conducted during the encounter by Juan de Dios López Uceda and Carlos Rey, authors of the article.

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