Travel to and from my client’s offices has me logging many highway miles giving me the opportunity to listen to many audio books and my favorite news stations. This has me constantly inundated with commercials selling everything from “lakefront property in Tennessee” to the latest snoring remedy.
But there was this one ad that caught my ear as it ended on “absolutely FREE shipping.” I forget the product name but it made me wonder why marketing people think we are so gullible. For it to be absolutely free you would think that the product company had called UPS, or some equivalent, asked them the cost of shipping and the answer was a big fat “zero.” Nope, it doesn’t happen that way. We all know shipping is built into the price (duh) – it’s not free at all.
Do you know anybody who works for free? I don’t. Some politicians ran the last election with platforms based on “free college tuition;” sorry Bernie but teachers and professors do not work for free. Somebody will need to pay them. Even free advice is not technically “free.” For advice to be of any value, the advice giver had to have put in years of time and effort to become some type of expert on the topic. I would also argue that time is an even more valuable commodity than money since time is non-renewable. Nothing comes for free.
“Even free advice is not technically “free.” The advice giver had to put in years of time and effort to be some sort of expert on the topic. I would argue that time is an even more valuable commodity than money since it’s non-renewable. Nothing comes for free.”
So then why do so many business leaders think they should get something for free? Over the years I’ve been working with business managers and leaders, there is often an undertone of expecting people, and their businesses, to perform in spite of their lack of willingness to put in the requisite leadership effort to get the outcome they want. For those of you reading who truly believe you have mastered the principles of management and leadership, and consistently achieve that delicate balance between satisfying business and people demands, feel free to stop reading. Others, please continue.
Performance comes with a price. This price you pay, in time and effort, will bring you a robust return on your investment; if you get it right. I’ve worked with hundreds of companies personally and without hesitation I can say that most managers get the business management part right but not-so-much for the people leadership part. Managing a team, inspiring people, building consensus, and getting everybody moving in the same direction is not easy and that is the exact reason why so many managers don’t do it. BREAKING NEWS: Nobody said it was going to be easy when you signed up for the job.
This is how you get it right…
PROVIDE CLEAR DIRECTION
It’s absolutely imperative to give your people a strong foundation that sets the stage for high performance: team goals, objectives, strategies, success factors, and key performance indicators. If you want people to meet your expectations, you need to tell them what your expectations are. This is Leadership 101 stuff but you’d be astoundedto learn how many people, who I have coached, forget key pieces or didn’t do it at all. Let your people know specifically how they fit into the bigger picture by discussing how their contribution (job function) positively impacts the business and how their personal success will be evaluated. This can be a combination of hard and subjective measurements.
Just as important, you’ve got to keep people motivated and engaged. Employee Engagement is common knowledge but most people don’t know what that really means. To start it is important to know that most people are influenced externally and motivated internally. Your job is to figure out how each person is motivated in relation to their work environment at a fundamental level. What drives them most? Is it results? Team collaboration? Consistency? Quality precision? Autonomy? Winning? It’s different for everybody and tapping into that motivation must be a deliberate effort on your part. This information must inform your daily employee coaching activities if you want to tap into the hidden energy and potential needed to help your team reach the next level.
INSPIRE ACTION AND RESULTS
Action is getting the job done and results indicate if the job was done well. The challenge is the correlation between these two important business elements is often lost on people. Most people work hard but few consistently get the results needed. It is rarely a lack of effort that is the problem but rather from an employee’s lack of understanding of a company’s purpose and how they deliver value to the customer. Don’t assume purpose is obvious. It’s important to share this with all employees, discuss it thoroughly, and challenge thinking that is out of alignment with what will produce consistent and sustainable outcomes for the organization.
Nothing in life comes for free. It takes hard work, dedication, and consistency to achieve your goals. Unlocking the full potential in your workforce won’t happen without guidance from leadership. By helping your people discover their purpose and the value they bring to your organization, you can create an unstoppable force that drives success at every level. Infomercials are a constant reminder that there is no “easy way out,” or “magic deal,” that will bring you success. So instead of calling in the next 15 minutes to double your order, try taking the next 15 minutes to map out your next step in achieving the most from your team.
A firm believer that leadership doesn’t have to be complicated, David provides clarity to chaos, unlocking the full potential in organizations. Driven by results and achievement, he guides leaders to realize their purpose and align to the organization’s vision. He helps organizations navigate through today’s business challenges by anchoring leaders in fundamental leadership principles; creating an unstoppable culture of success.
SKYE Business Solutions helps leaders discover their purpose: the driving force behind your organization’s ability to achieve. Purpose empowers leaders to recognize value; creating a culture of engagement, contribution, and trust. SKYE propels your leadership to the next level: pushing through the ordinary to unlock the full potential throughout all levels of your organization.