This anecdote has been told before. I heard it again last week and struck by how powerful the lesson still is. The CEO of a global freight company often travels to many cities. In lieu of having a fancy limo pick him up, he has a randomly picked local truck driver from his company pick him up from the airport to take him to his hotel.
In that ride, he asks questions and listens. He uses the feedback for his meetings the following day to orchestrate necessary changes. It’s been an effective way for the CEO to cut through layers of management to get unfiltered and necessary feedback. It has also made employees closest to his customers feel like they have a channel directly to the top to help them do their jobs better.
This week, take inventory of how easy or difficult it is for someone in your company to communicate with you without fear of repercussions. The more difficult and the more layers, the more likely it is that you are both ineffective and making good decisions to wrong problems.