Listening to market announcements, it’s clear the level of leadership organisations require to flourish in today’s post-COVID environment is not only missing, few are expecting things to change, meaning the future of most businesses looks more or less the same as their recent past.
This being the case, it’s critical Executive Leadership Teams think about the change they need to drive personally to unlock their organisation’s potential given its performance is largely a consequence of them.
Of course, to do this, Executives have to understand what they’re trying to build or become as a company and secondly, they need to institute new-generation practices to realise their aspirations in real terms.
Not surprisingly, most ELTs the world over are struggling to work out what’s next as they’ve exhausted the levers they’re accustomed to pulling, and yet their issues in terms of performance remain the same.
So what’s the answer? How can businesses transform their performance to improve their financial returns?
Answer: Become a people-first business.
As evidence suggests, conventional rules-based systems not only destroy innovation and engagement, they undermine people’s relationships with their employers and with it, their motivation to succeed. More notably, they’re in conflict with the new way people want to work meaning the longer they’re used, the more damage they’ll cause – albeit their proponents will never admit it.
The fact is, your people will govern your organisation’s success whether you like it or not. To presume otherwise is not only naïve, it’s a precarious recipe as it will encourage your leaders to try and force improvements which will exacerbate the issue thereby making things worse.
To be clear, this is not about adopting paternalistic practices to make people feel better but to reorientate your organisation so you can build a true high-performance culture and attitude to business.
As everyone knows, the days of cracking the whip to improve performance are over. Equally, thinking it’s simply about adopting employee-centric working arrangements misses the point. Instead, it’s about instituting proper performance-focused practices that unlock your people’s potential so they can deliver the outcomes you’re looking for; the argument that remote or hybrid working models address the issue is not only flawed, it presumes your organisation was performing to its potential pre-COVID meaning all you’re trying to do is get back to where you were.
As the US Military realised, to deliver better outcomes in future engagements they needed to become a people-first organisation prompting them to adopt it as a central tenet of their strategy in 2020. Further to this, an increasing number of the world’s most respected organisations including the likes of Apple, McDonald’s, and Virgin made the switch and have never looked back.
Why? Because the senior leaders of these organisations knew that what their people produced would govern what their organisations achieved. In other words, they’d figured out, just like the coach of every elite sports team on the planet, that it’s their people’s capability and discretionary effort that makes the difference.
As we all know, leadership is not about managing people’s time sheets or activities, nor blaming them for the organisation’s failures as has become commonplace, but lifting their performance beyond what they would otherwise achieve on their own.
The result of this approach is that it not only assures our people’s success, it creates a culture of performance – rather than apathy and indifference – which delivers both profits and, ultimately, choices as to where and how you invest in your business in the future.
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