The latest edition of the Ashridge Management Index – compiled from survey data from over 1,100 respondents and company interviews collected in 2012 through to early 2013 – is a survey of managers’ opinions about a range of topical issues.
What are the main topics?
Our research identified some good news – not least the high levels of employee engagement – as well as some challenges – such as how well organisations are dealing with change.
- What are the key challenges facing organisations at present?
- What key challenges do managers face personally, including work/life balance?
- How do organisations manage change?
- What are managers’ views on trust, fairness and executive pay?
- What is happening with regard to learning and development – what are the approaches managers think are most effective?
Key role: Manage & lead change
We asked respondents about the key issues that they believe are important for successful change. The well-planned design phase is mentioned but many also comment on the need for adequate resources, outstanding communications, and good leadership, as one person said:
“Managers at all levels need to first understand that one of their key roles is to manage and LEAD change.”
Simple & clear messages
The danger is that if managers don’t display such leadership then staff will believe change is less of a business issue and more of an optional ‘nice to have’. When it comes to making sense of change many of the 1,100 managers who took part in the Ashridge Management Index believe that simple, clear messages work best.
Similarly, a change process without a clearly defined ‘beginning’, ‘middle’ and ‘end’ lacks structure and makes life more difficult for everyone involved. Some organisations are good at starting but often have less clarity thereafter. We also heard examples where too many change initiatives are happening at the same time; a recipe for confusion.
What are good organizations?
Overall, on a positive note the findings indicate that there is a good environment in many organisations, including:
- The success of change initiatives within organisations
- Leadership which is rated highly – both with regard to the line manager and top leaders
- Feeling valued – the majority of managers say that top leaders value their contribution. This is also true with regard to their line manager
- Employee engagement levels which are high – on factors such as managers’ intention to stay with their organisation and feeling proud to work there.