Every leader’s hope is for a team in which every individual will participate to their fullest ability. And every individual in that team hopes that they will be allowed to participate to their fullest. It seems a natural fit with an outcome that every team would excel, but we know that is a rare event.
Active Knowledge Question:
How do people within your business find where they belong so that they may contribute to their fullest ability?
Great businesses are built over many years, typically seeded by the founder but then built upon by the many people who will come to work within that business.
Great businesses are enduring and set the standards that all others chase. They know the business which they are in, defined by the needs of their customers. They don’t stray nor chop and change in chasing profits nor seeking to get bigger just for the sake of being bigger.
But they are not static businesses; evolution and creation are part of their origin and embedded in their DNA. They intimately know their customers and their needs and also the evolving market in which they compete.
Their purpose as a business provides the window through which they view need, change and opportunity. This rock-solid cornerstone does limit them but rather focuses them, so all the noise is eliminated and they see opportunity clearly before anyone else and capture it.
They are not tied to their past, but also they do not abandon it. Rather they compound on all their learnings so that competitive strength is always growing.
And in achieving these outcomes, they understand that their competitive strength as a business lies in the combined talent and effort of every single person in their business being able to contribute to their fullest.
Their people are the builders, their leaders are the enablers, and who they are as a business is the glue that cements these relationships.
Every person knows where they fit in the task of continually building their business, and commitment, participation, and contribution is the outcome they seek. If they get that right, then everything else, including great profits, will be the outcome.
Great businesses don’t just appear; they are built to a clear design. It is an ever expanding and evolving design as the markets in which that business competes will be continuously changing, and the elements of the design support this evolution.
There are two core elements in this design, ‘who are we” and ‘how do we deliver value’.
- ‘Who are we’ is defined by purpose, vision and culture:
- Purpose tells everyone the reason for the business’s existence, which is typically around customer needs. Motive is the partner of purpose and should always be ‘to compete’, that is, to do our best in delivering value to our customers. Profit is never a purpose or motive; profit is only ever an outcome of competing well.
- Vision expresses the quest that everyone has joined. It is a summit that will take customer value to an entirely new level and may seem impossible to many, and that is the reason why so many have joined the quest. It is a righteous vision, one where the customer and the community are the beneficiaries.
- Culture is the glue, but also the rules. Culture affirms and supports all those traits and values that uplift commitment, participation and contribution and at the same time excludes those behaviours that will weaken the desired culture. Bad behaviour is eliminated.
2. ‘How do we deliver value’ is defined by the competitive posture and the organisational design:
- Competitive posture is the dynamic positioning that the business has chosen so that it may compete to its greatest potential and deliver a customer value that outcompetes all others. Often simple guiding principles are crafted that crystalise this posture for everyday use.
- Organisational design is not an organisational chart but the interaction and interdependencies of all the operations within the business that work in unison so that the business can effectively and efficiently deliver the customer value promised.
Everyone in the business knows clearly who the business is and how it functions. There is no doubt, and everyone works to this design.
Great businesses are built by successful people. Yes, that will include the founder and the generations of leaders, but importantly it includes every single person who works within that business.
They understand that success is not defined by some hierarchical structure within the Corporate entities whereby leaders above a certain level are the successes of the business, and well everyone else are the workers. No, they understand that every single person can be successful in their individual roles and in fact, they need to be successful if they are going to contribute to their fullest potential. A great business will only emerge if this hidden potential is released.
Success is never about wealth, position or power. Success is about a person’s contribution to an effort they feel a pride in, and when they go home at night knowing they participated to their fullest ability. This view of success is core to the business’s culture.
Throughout the business are ‘champions of success’. These are persons who are achievers. They understand what success really is and can uplift others so that they may also discover success. These are not people who chase promotions or talk themselves up; they are persons who humbly see success in many aspects of their life based upon their personal achievements.
A successful person can be a light within a community or organisation. They:
- Do not rely upon others for their identity.
- Are open and strong and provide leadership.
- Understand the power of words and apply them accordingly.
- Adopt habits to reinforce their success.
- Grow and connect with other successful people.
- Give thanks and give to others.
- Are confident but never prideful or arrogant.
These successful people have an invaluable and critical leadership role. They:
- Develop other people’s ability to be successful.
- Connect people with the organisation’s purpose and vision at the individual, team, corporate and community level.
- Lead by example and create a culture of success through being successful themselves.
They are able to support people discover their real potential and connect:
- Where am I going? What is my direction?
- Why am I going there? What is its meaning to me, and why does it motivate me?
- How am I going to get there? Do I have a plan to execute?
- What is going to stop me? Do I recognise the difficulties and barriers and how to overcome them?
Finding your place in building the business is vital for you as an individual and for the business. You will only discover your real potential and through its exploration success. The business will only thrive is every person is willing and able to contribute their real potential. Anything less is leaving untapped effort and success ‘on the table’.
The role of leadership is design, and the role of the individual is discovery.
Leaders create the framework in which everyone is able to excel. Their role is one of direction, alignment and focus. Their function becomes one of enablement, removing barriers and uplifting participation. Leadership must purposefully design the business, and that design lies in the competitive engine of the business.
Individuals seek to connect with a role in the business that will inspire them and allow them to discover talents and potential they never knew existed. They should search out champions of success in the business and learn and be inspired by them. But their personal success and fulfilment only comes from within them; it cannot be granted or provided by someone else.
Ensuring everyone in a business has a place that is right for them will enable them to commit, contribute and participate to their fullest, underpinning the enduring success of the business. A team in which everyone contributes to their fullest can be an everyday reality, but it’s unlikely to happen by accident. However, recognising that competitive strength lies in contribution and participation will open the door to focusing on the competitive engine of the business, which in turn seeds design and discovery.
An entirely new level of performance.
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All the best in the success of your business,