Is Cirque Du Soleil becoming your Circus Act?

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By: Center For Worklife - Expert Reviewer

Is Cirque Du Soleil becoming your Circus Act?

Unfortunately, a tragedy took place in Las Vegas last Sunday when Cirque Du Soleil acrobat Sarah Guyard-Guillot died after a 50 foot fall during a performance. The rope broke, causing her to plummet to her demise and the show “Ka” has been cancelled until further notice. In the wake of this heart-breaking tragedy, we wish comfort and recovery to Sarah’s loved ones. Although it may seem that Sarah’s incident is an isolated incident, we believe there to be a parallel between this accident and the employee productivity cycle within organizations. How often is the “rope breaking”, leaving employees helpless within companies?

Accidents can’t always be prevented, but like the dire role Cirque Du Soleil management plays in keeping its stage and operations safe so performers can do their job, organizations as a whole play an intricate role in their employee success. Even employees with the highest potential can fall if they aren’t properly supported.  We are of course not talking about negligence here; that’s elementary.  From an Organization Development perspective, we are talking about development and sustaining of top performers.

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Table of Contents

Organization Steps for Employee Success:

* Re-evaluate Key Performance Indicators
Many times Key Performance Indicators are tied to result analytics. Product based companies may assess how many sales were made in a month. A social services organization likely evaluates the number of clients assisted during the year. The problem happens when companies fail to incorporate Human Capital and Talent needs into performance indicators. Abhishek Verma’s (HR Analytics Lead at TCS’ Platform Solutions) white paper Designing and Measuring Human Capital Key Performance Indicators: The Balanced Scoreboard Approach is a helpful resource. He lists important indicators often overlooked such as Employee Selection Indexes and Employee Engagement Scores. The human capital factor is crucial because an organization is only as strong as its employees.

* Break the Communication Boundaries
Often times, regardless of how long the organization has been in business, or how experienced the individuals within it are, routine, culture, and perceptions get in the way of effectiveness.  In a large organization like Cirque Du Soleil, what are the chances that the information was left undiscovered? Zero. But what are the chances it was not communicated? You answer that one!
Healthy organizations focus on writing and rewriting the rules of communication over and over, so that the message never gets lost.  Whether you are in sales or in charge of a sales-force or an executive/leader building relationships and serving as the brand identity for your organization, you have to have a voice that is clear, stern, reliable, and diplomatic.   There is no such person that was born with this Voice.  Chances are every strong voice you know and admire has been trained.

* Train the whole Individual
Employee productivity starts with motivation which is directly tied to emotional health. Organizations and managers are accountable for listening and being aware of employee needs. Individuals can practice this through the The Five Languages of Love TM model in the workplace. Successful organizations take advantage of behavioral training options which are designed to strengthen their employee’s from within.  People and coping skills are a strong asset for managing stress and leadership development in addition to technical skills.  Examples of these would be Emotional Intelligence Training and Work Life Balance Coaching.

* Reinvigorate the Team Spirit
Research conducted by J. Richard Hackman, Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at Harvard University, reveals that many times, teams don’t agree on what they are supposed to accomplish. Often, departments within the same organization drop the ball by not instigating the cultivation of healthy work teams. This could be prevented by simply seeking professional team development assistance, which leads to role clarity, task identity and more. All of these elements funnel to generate high productivity outcomes within the organization.

The news of Sarah’s accident is not only shocking and disheartening, but also a wake-up call to organizations large and small. Though most companies won’t directly relate to the death of an employee, this is still a magnified correlation of what happens every day in organizations. While employees are responsible for their development and performance to a degree, they have no chance for success if organizational factors are working against them.

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