I worked in Army for 26 years, worked in corporate since last almost nine years, but nobody identifies me with my present company to the same extent that they identify me with my Army background. I worked in the one of the very best companies of the world and it’s a big brand. Why people don’t identify me with company I worked with? Is it a cultural context or probably Army occupies a bigger mind space in India, due to our unique history or our geographical constraints?
How many of us know that when the young officers or soldiers join the Army, they go through the complete historical perspective of the Army as well as their corps (domain) before they become part of it. They share the belief system and ethos of the Army and the Corps/ Regiment, of which they are going to be part of, for their entire life. Ethnocentrism is part of Army culture in two ways i.e., Army is best in comparison to any other organization in the world and secondly within Army, Unit is best. Now once you tell somebody that he is the best, it becomes very easy to motivate.
At so many times during interaction in Mess, you will find young officers picking up arguments or even physical fights to justify the superiority of their unit. These officers when they go out will be very much willing to bet on Army, come what may. That is the reason why people once outside Army will comment “I have left Army but Army is inside me”
I am not an expert on Army culture and ethos, but this is what I feel.
How many times did you find any corporate executive to be so aggressive about his company or exhibit that much loyalty to the company? Very rare?
In Army, institution gives you identity, as a soldier one is very small entity but the moment he is identified as an Army man, and he gets a bigger entity. Rank structure strengthens that identification. You will find so many of soldiers writing on their wedding card “Manoj Singh: Indian Army”.
In our mortal life, everybody wants to get connected something bigger than oneself, this connection comes when individual feels valued, in return one values the organization and sense of belongingness comes. You can call it emotional connect. Once this connect comes, you will not be required to motivate the people, they will be automatically motivated.
In Army, this connect comes primarily from the organization and unit loyalty complements it, in corporate this connect comes from immediate supervisor and company may supplement it, depending upon its culture. If immediate supervisor doesn’t provide that connect in corporate, attrition rates become higher.
Is there any logic for emotional connect? Not at all. This emotional connect drives all the decisions. How? Decision making in human brain is with limbic brain. Limbic brain is driven by trust, loyalty, sincerity and emotions, so once as a leader you win the trust of the subordinates, your trustee is going to support you. And if this is not the case, no matter how much logic or data centric approach you use to support your point; you will not be supported by your subordinate. Want to win the support of your subordinate- one has to be on higher moral ground because of this reason. Once emotional support is achieved, hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins take over and make possible to achieve even unachievable results.
Role of immediate supervisor in corporate becomes very important because of this reason.
How much do the corporate structure supports the emotional connect of the executives. Some of the companies do make effort BUT overall perception is that employees are to be looked after to the extent that each one continues to remain profitable for the company. I will make a limited statement here that perception is two-way road and leader has to realize this in the long-term interest of organization. Employees are not to be treated as expendable commodity. It does not mean pampering the employees either or treating them with kid gloves.
Leaders have to realize that without emotional connect, no ownership can come. This ownership pertains to effort, resources, results and growth, all inclusive. Unless one owns the employees, don’t expect them to own results.
Dale Carnegie said “When dealing with the people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic but creatures of emotions”.
Corporate leaders, hope you are listening