If we polled every head of every organisation in every country in the world we’d get a remarkably common belief and understanding of one basic concept – the concept that people are the key to success. People, not technology, not finance, not strategy, not systems or products. These are all important but are all by-products of your people because they are all used or created by … your people. If you think otherwise you may as well stop reading now – and go raise your white flag – turn off the lights on your way out. Its not overly generalising to state most everyone acknowledges this. But their agreement comes with a sense of uneasiness, in an almost desperate way.
How can so many know what’s ultimately important yet feel so uneasy and even impotent in optimising this ultimate strength and organisational advantage?
There is a fairly straightforward reason, people are complex and challenging, far more so than any system, technology, product or strategy. No matter how good your recruitment, it is extremely unlikely you’ll put together a perfect ‘kit’ for your people dynamic. It’d be nice if you could just order up a complete box set of personnel who will work together seamlessly, have all the requisite skills and be consistently driven and on target like you might a new software program. So rather than address this dynamic completely and thoroughly it is either left to chance or addressed piece meal. This is like raising a white flag and surrendering or another metaphor, burying your head in the sand and hoping things get better. Unfortunately they won’t if left alone. But there is good news…
It’s not all doom and gloom or frustrating, its actually quite easy while also very difficult, hence why it requires complete commitment. And for those of us who have been through this and come out triumphant on the other side, we can tell you it is the most rewarding exercise you’ll ever do to ensure your organisations’ success. So take down your white flags, pull your head out of the sand; there is a solution if you are willing. The results are well worth the effort. Here are a few things you can do, our Professional Journey Step #24.
Element 1 – Acknowledge and Embrace the factual reality
We often hear heads of organisations say they know their people are important but they are complex and even dysfunctional. Of course they are, they (as we all are) people and complex by nature!! So just embrace this fact rather than avoid it – it’s a natural law not a theory or hypothesis. Work with it rather than against.
Element 2 – Know the pieces of your puzzle
If you were going to build a house – or anything for that matter – you wouldn’t start without knowing exactly what materials you need and how they go together. To build your organisation you must know your people and how they work together. This package includes, but is not limited to, your peoples’ strengths and weaknesses – both in regard to skills and personality. However those are merely the start. You must also know their motivation and inspiration points and provide that impetus. Their values and beliefs as well and ensure they are in sync with your organisation’s.
Element 3- Provide clear and concise objective
Like our house building analogy, you need a plan and everyone participating in the ‘build’ must know what that plan is, what their role is in the plan and what the end result (your goal or objectives) is supposed to look like – Everyone!!
Element 4- Put the pieces together
Here is some more good news, in most cases given the right direction and leadership, encompassing the correct skills and motivation, people, unlike inanimate puzzle pieces, will actually form and create the puzzle (attain the goals, objectives) on their own – get out of their way.
Element 5- Create the proper people environment
Your role as leader, in addition to all of the above, is to create and sustain an environment conducive to them performing and producing. This is definitely a skill often overlooked or misapplied. The environment to which I refer is not simply their workspace and tools, a high performance environment is born from all the factors of Leadership you hear about all the time; building trust, creating a sense of safety and mutual respect, providing guidelines but not inhibiting. Of all the elements this one is arguably the most important for your people to thrive and the most complex to create.
Element 6- Stay the course
This process isn’t a ‘let’s try this for a week, month… and see what happens. It’s ever ongoing since it is dynamic and ever changing. Be relentless in its pursuit and you’ll reap the benefits continuously.
Element 7- Get Help and guidance
At the risk of seeming self-serving, this is exceptionally important. As stated and acknowledged, this process of building your organisation through your peoples’ skills, talents and abilities and creating and sustaining the right environment is incredibly complex yet the most important aspect of your organisation. Get help where you need it, its just the wise decision.
This professional journey step #24 is brought to you today by the caring and capable team at MSB Max. This step is not earth shattering or novel. It is unlikely to provide you with a eureka moment however, hopefully it’ll provide some stimulus for action – in one or all elements – to create the best environment, get the most enthusiastic productivity and high performance from your people and attain, together, the most successful organisation possible. It is simple, its well known but complex and hard – the decision of what to do is yours. Here’s hoping you won’t be raising any white flags.
If we can help you with any aspect of this we’re here to help, its what we do and why we exist.
Enjoy the journey…