As the economic-pause that businesses around the world are experiencing continues, with no clear end in sight, the ability of your leadership team to ‘rally the troops’ around the business will become even more vital. What’s your plan?
Active Knowledge Question:
What characteristics of your business draw people to stand by it?
As the ‘lockdown’ on communities and businesses, as a public health response to COVID-19, continues it will wear-down the commitment and resilience of your team, at all levels. Your task, and that of your leadership team, is to restore and strengthen the commitment that everyone working with and within your business has to your business.
Your goal should always be the ‘the best of the best, working at their best with the best’ every day. The competitive strength of any business lies in the combined talent and effort of every person being drawn to the forefront in support of its competitive strategy.
The physical, emotional and mental strain that the continued ‘lockdown’ places on everyone wears down and weakens that competitive strength. Some people have enjoyed the release from not having to travel to the office every day; others have missed the community from day one. But enduring team strength requires a physical presence, a closeness, that the digital world can never substitute for. The chemistry that is built by being in the same room cannot be replaced online.
An active counterplan to this fatigue is required to restore competitive strength, and this can be achieved by focusing on key aspects of the competitive engine in your business.
Why Would I Work For You?
A great way to develop a response to ‘lockdown’ fatigue is to answer the question, ‘why would someone work for us as a business’? The right answer will allow you to focus on those elements that energise people’s commitment. And in considering your answer, bear in mind that the people you want to energise are those who will invest themselves in their team and the business, and not in self-interest.
We seem to accept that, in most instances, self-interest is the key driving motive for an individual working in a business. The recruitment pitch, the rewards, and incentives all have been geared to respond to the question, ‘What’s in it for me – the employee?’ And we have to give more than a competitor to attract the best candidates.
Whilst it is true that everyone chooses a role-based upon what is in their best interest, that interest could simply be the opportunity to contribute and grow as an individual. ‘What’s in it for them’ is not necessarily what they can take away but what they can put in and what they are able to contribute of themselves. Through that contribution, they gain their principal reward.
Once you start with a message of what you can give them, then you have attracted a team whose principal expectation is to take, not give. Self-interest is seeded, it is fed and everyone working within and with the business knows it is all about what you can take away. Therefore, nurturing the notion that what you give must never exceed what you can take away.
I know it may seem like a strange notion to some, but there are many talented people who will put the opportunity to contribute to something with meaning and purpose ahead of financial reward alone.
Great businesses are built by leaders – worthy leaders – who contribute far more than they take home. A competitively fit business cannot be built by a team who are all there for themselves.
When framing your ‘lockdown’ fatigue response, start with asking and answering:
- Why would someone want to work with us?
- How are we looking for them to contribute?
- What type of person are they going to be?
- As individuals, how are they seeking to excel in their lives?
- What will entice them to contribute?
Then craft your program to target the traits of these people. And in doing so it is about creating the opportunity for each of them to contribute to the purpose for which your business exists.
Your Competitive Engine – A Source of Personal Energy
The competitive engine within your business can provide a rich source of reasons, rewards, and incentives to attract the right people and energise them into committing themselves to the purpose and vision of your business.
Here are some examples of how the elements of your engine can energise a person:
- Purpose – ‘I want to be involved in what you as a business are doing and the people whose needs you are meeting – it’s a righteous purpose.’
- Motive To Compete – ‘I want to work for a business like yours where it’s not all about the dollars but actually about doing it ‘better every day’ and really doing something worthwhile.
- Worthy Leaders – ‘I want to work for you because of who you are as a person and I know you will support me become the best I can.
- Culture – ‘I love the people I get to work with, how we work as a team and how everyone views what we do as a business.’
- Vision/quest – ‘I want to be part of the challenging journey you are on.’
- Trust In Leadership – ‘It’s a great business to work for and they are actually trustworthy and sincere.’
- No Barriers And Great Rewards – ‘This is somewhere where I can excel.’
- Customer Focus And Capabilities – ‘I can contribute and learn so much.’
So, your actions and messaging throughout your entire business must reinforce all the ‘energising’ attributes within your business.
There is a catch though, and that is a profit-first motive that typically undercuts all those energising attributes. Build the competitive engine in your business and profits will be one of the natural outcomes but chase short-term profit and the competitive fitness of your business will be weakened. Many businesses chase short-term profit year by year and year by year weaken their capability to compete.
Reconnect and Strengthen
As the ‘lockdown’ continues, your efforts to strengthen connections across your entire people base must double-up. Online connections are convenient, and necessary today, but they superficial – screen deep. Fatigue and distance will weaken connections and commitment, and thereafter performance.
Turn your attention to strengthening the reasons why each and every person should work with and contribute to your business, to ensure it is a stellar success – reasons well beyond a simple pay-check. These reasons live in your competitive engine, and you need to lift them up and give them a strength and presence enticing to everyone working with and within your business.
Do this, and when the lockdown is eased and over, your team will emerge stronger than ever. Ignore it and your team many simply wither away.
An entirely new level of performance.
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All the best in the success of your business,