Survey reveals disparity between personal and organisational definitions of success in the manufacturing sector
6 February 2007
5 February 2007 – Managers within the manufacturing sector believe there is a discrepancy between how individuals and their organisations judge success. According to the results of surveys* conducted by the Chartered Management Institute, managers achieve personal success by making an impact at work and developing their colleagues, but think their organisations are more focussed on market leadership and profit margins.
The findings, taken from research projects conducted over the past 15 months, also show that the majority of individuals (75 per cent) in the manufacturing sector believe that ‘enjoying work’ is crucial to success, yet only 7 per cent believe that their employers share this view.
59 per cent of individuals in the manufacturing sector claimed to judge success by the extent to which they develop their teams but felt that only 42 per cent of organisations mark this as a priority. This raises concerns not only in view of the growing recognition of skills shortages in the UK, but also for the lack of communication within organisations.
Just under 1 in 5 (19 per cent) in the manufacturing sector also believe that ‘achieving a flexible lifestyle’ is the mark of professional success but think only 5 per cent of their employers concur with this. The perception of differing opinions comes against a backdrop of individuals resolving to spend more time with friends and family this year (39 per cent) and planning to change jobs (20 per cent).
Of 1,864 managers asked to identify the key factor that drives them to succeed, almost two-thirds (64 per cent) spoke of having a ‘sense of purpose’ in their work and almost one in five (19 per cent) referred to ‘making a difference to society’. Only 11 per cent sought status amongst colleagues and less than 1 in 10 (8 per cent) claimed that success should be judged by ‘public recognition’.
The research highlights a worryingly large gap between how individuals define success and how they believe their employees measure achievement with market share and long-term growth thought to be of higher priority than employee welfare. Only 20 per cent of managers in the manufacturing sector are concerned with ‘ensuring the organisation is market leader’ but 80 per cent thought that their employers made this a priority. Similarly, just 20 per cent of managers believe securing ‘sustainability’ is important, but thought that 73 per cent of their organisations perceive this as a priority.
The findings also show that fewer than half (44 per cent) in the manufacturing sector believe they have actually achieved their true potential. However, it is clear that the sector’s managers are unhappy with this situation, with many taking action to ensure success. 36 per cent have planned to undertake development courses or further education during the next twelve months and 7 per cent intend to improve their language skills to cope with increasing global business needs.
Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs at the Chartered Management Institute, says: “Success clearly means different things to different people, but the disparity between the aims and objectives of the individual and how they view their company’s priorities reveals a need for better internal communication.
“Managers should voice professional needs so their definition of success is known while the organisation needs to create a clear understanding of its corporate objectives to ensure employees and future employees feel an alignment to the corporate culture” she continues.
Reacting to the findings, the Chartered Management Institute has created a series of freely downloadable resources to help individuals and organisations achieve success. Available via www.managers.org.uk/active the resources offer guidance and diagnostic tools covering six key areas. These are:
- Delivering results
- Making it happen by managing change
- Meeting customer needs
- Making an impact
- Inspirational leadership
- Getting the (work-life) balance right
* The surveys include research begun in October 2005 for ‘Managers Motivation’, continue with ‘Active Managers’ (October 2006) and conclude with the annual Future Forecast Survey (December 2006).