Two similar surveys gauging executive and employee confidence in their companies’ strength to emerge from the still sluggish economy reveal that both groups believe their organization’s fate rests more on management than money.

The Leadership Pulse study from eePulse shows that while the 677 execs surveyed generally feel more optimistic about the economy — confidence in the economic climate increased from 40% to 55% between 2003 and today — “confidence is declining due to strategy not being executed, leaders and employees lacking clear direction and overall, low morale from low or excessively high personal energy levels at work,” says Theresa M. Welbourne, eePulse president and CEO.

According to eePulse, execs’ confidence:

* In their leadership teams overall decreased from 82% to 72%.
* That their firms have the right people and skills decreased from 73% to 64%.
* Their organizations have the ability to execute on vision decreased from 73% to 64%.
* Their firms have the ability to change as needed decreased from 60% to 55%.
* Their own personal leadership and management skills decreased from 91% to 88%.
* In the organization’s strategy-making process decreased from 63% to 54%.

When execs appear so down on themselves and their people, it’d be tough for rank-and-file workers to feel much differently. Indeed, survey results from HCL Technologies reveal that although employees at large companies are bullish about their companies' prospects for coming out of the economic downturn on top, workers say that meeting future challenges will require a change in management practices. The national poll of 704 employees at companies with 300 or more workers found: 

* 83% of American workers still believe their companies will emerge form the downturn as industry leaders.
* 42% give their CEO an “A” for management during the economic downturn, and 31% give them a “B.”
* 55% believe management practices need to change in order for companies to tackle future business challenges.
* 39% of employees in their 30s describe the mood among colleagues as one of pessimism and uncertainty.

So, it looks like we have a bunch of corporate Eeyores walking around, knowing things need to improve at their companies, but seem to be unsure how to do it.

I say, if ever there were a time to go wild with ideas for how to change directions, this is it. Throw a company “pasta party” — get everyone together, throw things against the wall and see what sticks. If nothing else, the brainstorming and face-to-face exchange with colleagues at all levels — unfortunately rare these days — will help change everyone’s attitude, which likely is what needs to change before your corporate strategy does.

Thoughts? Share them in the comments. 

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