October 18th, 2010
During the past 13 years of working consulting we have developed a list of traits and values that characterize successful companies:
Corporate culture is deep and consistent
- Business strategies come first
- Business development effectiveness is essential
- The best practices are consistent from industry to industry
- Sales is a corporate priority
- Structured process is key to success
- Teamwork prevails
- Training and recruitment are critically important
- Compensation is linked to corporate objectives
- Corporate image and branding is important
While this list is not necessarily in any priority of importance, a quick grade of your organization, (1-5, 5=highest), will begin to define how well you are building your organization.
What we find with many entrepreneurs in the channel is they have developed a high level of technical efficiency, quality delivery systems and in some cases management systems that can report their effectiveness. What stands out in those organizations that are accelerating in growth and profits is the concept of leadership and motivation.
Many books have been written on leadership and its impact on a business, Rudy Giuliani’s book, simply titled “Leadership”, is a quick read and well documented on the fundamental elements of running an organization. In the book he speaks to his focus on fixing New York City and his lesson’s can be applied to everyday business. Highly recommend reading…
The key element of successful leaders is having a vision and passion for their business. We are convinced a defined and clearly articulated message of “where we are headed” is critical to ensure success. The definition of leadership speaks to this clearly: The ability to make things happen by encouraging and channeling contributions of others, taking a stand on and addressing important issues and acting as a catalyst for change and continuous improvement. Without vision and passion individuals and their organizations will drift and be captive to the marketplace.
Leaders stand out, giving others their vision, creating hope, sharing success, addressing the issues that need to changed, holding people accountable and being focused on making everything work more effectively for their employees and customers. When employees feel that the President and Management team are in alignment a natural energy will begin to filter throughout the organization and a sense of purpose will carry a winning attitude into the marketplace.
We believe it’s the leader’s responsibility to maintain the active vision in the organization by focusing on the concept of belief. Belief in what your organization does why it’s the “best” in your market and why “we” as a team must work together for the common good. This focus must be reinforced continuity. Once example, we believe in monthly employee meetings where the leader has an opportunity to voice their message, reinforce their organizations value propositions, the desired culture and create an environment where the employees can feel the presence of leadership. Each department manager should speak to the pride within their organization and express “thanks’ to the other departments for supporting their efforts.
Once a vision is created for the organization, the next focus for motivation is to create an atmosphere of accomplishment. Everyone wants to feel they are contributing to the success of the organization they represent. Leadership must focus on three elements: 1) Define specific objectives for everyone in the organization, 2) Hold everyone accountable for achieving those objectives, 3) Recognize those employee’s that exceed those objectives. Many Partners have a challenge with holding individuals accountable. This ability to focus on execution separates those who are managers from those that are leaders.
The definition of management shows the separation factor:
Management is the skill of attaining predefined objectives with and through the voluntary cooperation and effort of other people.
If you review the definition of leadership as compared to this definition of management you will see the difference. Predefined objectives are set by Leaders who focus on being a catalyst for change and continuous improvement. As owner’s we must be both leaders and managers!
It is this careful balance between the business focus of accountability and building the emotional belief of the employee is what we call: “Align the Soul of the Individual with the Goal of the Organization”. Once employees believe in the vision of the company and how it can impact their personal self values and help them achieve their personal goals, the reality of building a highly motivated organization will occur.