The business started in 2002 and is now are a leading counseling and training organisation with specialist expertise in the job services industry.
Their campaign “Bring Back Happy”, made me think about the businesses where there is no fun or laughter. Many came to mind. It also brought up memories of events from my days in corporate life around 2009-11.
Stress and bullying in the work place are in the absence of happy or fun experiences.
It’s a significant issue in the corporate world as well in school that organisations like Make Bullying History (http://www.makebullyinghistory.org) tackle head on. Until now, I’ve not shared my personal experiences of being bullied at work.
For me, the fun stopped and the harassment started with a senior manager wishing to bring her own staff member to replace me. She falsely claimed my project management was self-serving to keep me in a job.
My projects were investigated and my team scrutinized to the point where my staff broke down in tears.
An independent audit by finance within the bank found nothing untoward in our delivery and had been correct in assigning costs.
The intimidation shown by the senior manager to others in the bank at the start of the investigation, resulted in me being replaced to allow her to put her own project manager in.
It was tough times and there was no release or saviour for a long time. I was prepared to walk out of the bank and offered my resignation due to the bullying and harassment.
However a peer to the senior manager in the bank needed help in managing the project delivery team. On face value the team were broken through poor management and some needed counseling.
I remember the first day I met one of the team. She broke down after years of broken promises and toxic leadership.
So moving from one part of the bank to a managing a broken and underperforming delivery team might have seemed like it was bigger challenge. It was and some didn’t expect a successful outcome.
It happened, through structure, review, promotion, transfer and most importantly communication and fun. I remember we had the first off-site in many years for the team at a bowling alley in Darling Harbour.
We brought back happy! The team dynamic changed and the stakeholders across the bank saw the quicker delivery, better quality work and an infectious upbeat attitude. Within 6 months, we were unstoppable!
The momentum got us into managing the governance and change agenda for the bank – a big gig with an annual spend of over $100M.
As a team we put together a framework and process that allowed objectivity and visibility to all levels in management. The rebound was complete and no one expected great outcomes with happy staff.
Our success, and my reputation to rescue teams and projects increased and I was 12 months into looking after the team, when an executive manager pulled me aside.
She’d told me a regulatory project was on the rails, risked the banks license to lend money and had the group executive attention being in Red delivery status for three months.
I left my team and joined another turbulent environment, this time with a hairier set of issues. Could I turn it around again?
I took on the regulatory project using some of my staff from one team to the next. The same staff that were 12 months ago unhappy and broken needed to guide the new team. It took a month to get settled, but soon after started seeing a turnaround.
I gave the team breathing room by personally managing stakeholder relations with over 100 senior managers across the bank. Yes, some of which were turning into bullies, just like the senior manager from the team I was removed from.
Over the coming 14 months we got one of the most significant change events for the bank and the group completed with full engagement of all stakeholders. I have no doubt, the effectiveness and happiness of the team got us to a successful outcome.
Looking back now and being at the event at Pure Insights this week, I see now related to the huge benefits of having happy and motivated staff.
We often believe company founders hold the passion and the direction of the company. However, by incorporating fun, happiness and purpose, your staff and those around you, can become an immense force to help magnify your message and reach “amazing”.
As my friend, Jen Harwood says, “No one person can be great alone, it takes others to get there and stay there”.
Tack along a fun and happiness focus of working with people and you’re unstoppable. Visit www.pureinsights.com.au
Know My Group is a marketing and sales organisation that uses business relationships, PR and media to introduce new opportunities. Serving any size of business and across most industries, the brands in the Group are Know My Business, Know My Life and newly formed Know My Health. Get in touch to see how we can help you position your company to get introduced to new opportunity. Call 1300 046 876 or email email@example.com