A recent survey in the USA on how employees understand their job tasks and their organization’s goals and on how they support the achievement of those goals produced some astonishing results. Let’s look at those results when applied to a soccer team of 11 players.

Four out of the team of 11 know which of the two goals on the field is theirs, i.e. know their company’s objectives. Just two players actually care, i.e. are motivated by their company’s vision and goals. Likewise, just two players on the team know what position they are supposed to play and how they are expected to play in that position. In other words, only a small proportion of employees are clear about what they are expected to do in the company. Finally, two players in the team of 11 are actually playing against rather than for their team, i.e. holding back the interests of their unit or organization.

It is not a very flattering picture of the modern business world. Whereas the ideal company is like a well-drilled soccer team with a cohesive strategy and a number of talented individuals working to achieve the same collective goal, this kind of effective teamwork is increasingly rare in today’s fast-changing, complex business world. It is clear that if a company is not driven by its vision, strategy and values, it will be unable effectively to manage and use its potential competence-based resources. It will not be making adequate use of its creative knowledge capital.

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