Ever heard of the watermelon effect? At least I didn’t, until recently. But it makes good sense, the name has to be understood quite literally. Describe a watermelon. Besides being a fruit, round, and full of grains, it is green outside – but red inside.
And that is exactly WHERE the name comes from. The watermelon effect is what happens when employees dare not tell management what they really think and how it really goes. Instead, they color all the measurements green, as if everything is going great, even if it is not.
So if you dig a little deeper, you would find that reality was red, like a watermelon.
Managers don’t know!
The result is that management decisions are made without knowledge of the majority of the problems and challenges the company faces. Many leaders are convinced of this, but they don’t know how to access the true version of the state of things.
First of all, they do not know WHO to ask, to know the truth. Besides, they are not sure that the answer they would get would now also be the truth. The trust in leaders is low, in fact, according to Forbes, 63% of employees do not trust their managers. So why would you want to share the truth with them?
Who should they ask then?
They need to identify the 3% most important influencers in the business. These are the ones colleagues go to, listen to, and trust in everyday life. And that is why they are also selected by their colleagues through network analysis.
Once the 3% is identified, management must involve them, inform them and, most importantly, listen to them. Let them ask questions, and influence them to the extent possible. There is a reason that they are also called the ‘Voice of the People’.
These, selected by their colleagues, may become the best ambassadors the company ever gets.
They are the ones who make sure their colleagues understand what is happening in the business, and they are the ones who can pass the truth from the ‘people’ to the management without the watermelon filter. 😊