Heera Training and Management Consultancy

eNewsletter November 2010

Dear Everyone,

Hi! And how are you all? It has been a very, very busy month of October from a training perspective. The highlight was definitely watching the rescue of the 33 trapped Chilean miners. It was a wonderful triumph of human endeavour and ingenuity in a near hopeless situation. As I watched spell bound in front of my TV, I could not help but shed a little tear especially when I saw the son of Florencio Avalos (the first miner out) crying and hugging his father. As Florencio said, “I have never seen a seven year old show so much love for his father.” And as they rejoiced, I am sure not only me, but the whole world rejoiced in unison. It was certainly a triumph of the human spirit.

“Open Minds are more Important than Open Doors”

This month I want to talk to you about this concept called the ‘open door policy’. Many organizations and managers practice this concept whereby subordinates are welcome to come into the office of a superior at any time to discuss any matter, give an opinion, provide feedback etc. From my experience however, I find that whenever employees use the open door policy, the response on the other side of the door is usually lukewarm or downright critical. Some of those who use this opportunity to voice grievances or provide feedback are labeled as ‘irritants’ or worse still ‘trouble makers’. In most cases, employees leave the ‘open doors’ with a bitter taste in their mouth. I cannot help but believe that these ‘open door’ policies have been put in place more to create a positive image for the manager i.e. that he is mature, open and welcomes feedback. In actual fact, the opposite is closer to the truth.

My view is that an open door policy is absolutely useless if behind the open door there is a closed mind. I would rather open minds than open doors. Having an open mind means being able to accept feedback and opinions no matter how dissimilar they are to your own. The objective of an open door policy is to provide a ‘safe environment’ whereby subordinates and peers can discuss a matter openly and to know each other’s views on different matters. The manager need not necessarily accept these views, but he/she must give the other party every opportunity to say their piece. The worst scenario is when they don’t even want to listen because they have made up their minds. What happens after that is that although the door is open, nobody wants to go through it. And organizations and managers then lament that “although we have an open door policy, employees seldom want to make use of it”. Perhaps organizations should start promoting an ‘open mind’ policy. I am most certain this will be much more effective!!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I do hope I have written something interesting for you to read today. May god bless each and every one of you and till my next newsletter, have a great, great month ahead.