Voice of the Employee: Does a General need to ask a soldier for his opinion?

So you wanna know what VoE means? And what does history have to say about getting the “Voice of your employee”? Well, thanks for asking. It’s an important question. With the answer, you might win a World War – or even an Academy Award.

2 min read
Posted by Screver


Does a General need to ask a soldier for his opinion?

In World War II, Omar Bradley commanded more troops than any general in American history: 1.3 million troops. But he earned his nickname “The G.I. General” because he took the time to talk to single soldiers. How they felt the war was going, how they felt about the food. Stuff like that. This low-key style of command, the unassuming nature, and his affinity for wearing a common soldier’s uniform in the field made him popular with the boys. The dog-faced soldier felt the brass appreciated his sticking his neck out. But more than that: General Bradley got useful intelligence out of the answers!

You know where we’re going with this. A CEO is a lot like a General, commanding his troops. But will they fight for him if the going gets tough – or will they turn tail? Here’s another example of why listening to your employees is wise.

Clint Eastwood, as we all know, is held in high esteem in American cinema. A lesser-known fact is that his crew travels with him from film to film. They always keep their schedules open for Clint. What makes the flinty-eyed, hard-nosed guy so popular with his technicians? Simple. He asks their opinion. “If somebody comes up with a good idea, I’ll use it.” In his acceptance speech for his Best Director Award for “Million Dollar Baby”, Eastwood thanked the crew. “To make a picture in 37 days, it takes a well-oiled machine. And that well-oiled machine is the crew.” You don’t want to argue with Dirty Harry. In other words: take the advice of any guy on the set, even if he’s at the very foot of the movie hierarchy – and you might walk away with an Oscar for it.

Sure, we could also take the word of the famous novelist Ray Bradbury for it: “I never ask anyone else’s opinion. They don’t count.” But don’t forget, this guy wrote his stuff all alone. And Bradbury wrote the most depressing stuff!

So what we’re doing with Screver is just that: Ask the employee’s opinion. Actually listen to what he or she has to say. And use their statements to enhance your own performance. Simple, yet powerful.

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