It’s cool to think. It’s not cool to do crap things.

I am borrowing this line from Obama’s speech at Rutgers. Of course he was referring to certain presidential candidate.

“Facts, evidence, reason, logic and understanding of science, those are good things. These are qualities you want in people making policy. We traditionally have valued those things, but if you were to listen to today’s political debate, you might wonder where this strain of anti-intellectualism came from. So, class of 2016, let me be clear as I can be: In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about’ 

I think that we could extrapolate. It’s not cool to do crap things. No mater how many crap things other people do. Actually, the problem is crap thinking and crap copying.

You don’t have to have massive, one off Employee Engagement surveys because this is what ‘everybody does’, and by doing them you join some sort of exclusive club of ‘serious companies’. If you need one, you don’t have to react to everything with high levels of workshopsterone and pretend you ‘fix problems’. Most likely, whatever the survey says, the issues are systemic (maybe small systemic…) and there is no point to react and fix them in isolation.

Communication is low, let’s do something for communication; work-life balance is OK, we don’t need to do anything; trust in line managers is going down, OMG, let’s have trust workshops.

Dealing with Employee Engagement data, if this is what you want, is not inventory management and refilling the shelves of the company supermarket.

Somebody needs to ask the question, why we are so in love with ‘that survey’ and, for all its potential merits, whether ‘that survey’ has become a substitute for finding out in real time, real world, what is going on. No serious political campaign, social movement or ‘cause’ works on one single set of data. Why are we so in love with the single ritual of ‘that survey’. Does it make your company cool?

I am picking on that topic, just because It have been recently in front of clients who have gone from loving ‘that Employee Engagement survey’ (‘we also do this, you know, like the big companies’) to saying they will not be doing it anymore because … err.. some big companies have said that enough is enough (‘we agree with these big companies, you know’)

It’s not cool not to know what we are talking about. It’s not cool not to think critically. It’s not cool to belong to the copycat club.

The problem with ‘that survey’s is not the survey itself but the blind use of a tool that switches off critical thinking.

It’s cool to think.


Leandro Herrero
About the author: 

Based in the United Kingdom, Dr. Leandro Herrero is the Chief Executive Officer at The Chalfont Project, LTD, an organizational architecture consultancy.  He is also currently Managing Partner at Viral Change Global, LLP.  Leandro’s executive career includes multiple assignments with Allergan, Eli Lilly & Co. and GSK (formerly Gasko).   He earned both MBA and MD degrees and you can follow him on Twitter.