Attending the Vistage Speakers Reception at Ashdown Park this week, reminded me of the many tips and ideas which we take away from our speak...
Sunday, 9 March 2014
Planning For Growth in Your Business? First You Must Grow Your People!
A recently appointed CEO of a large professional practice
said when asked about the growth potential of the business:
“About 5% this year,
6% next year and possibly 8% the year after”
Hardly a ringing call to arms to engender a bout of
enthusiastic energy among the troops.How can anyone get excited about the future with a forecast like that?
The fact is that we have just come through the worst
recession in living memory and this one will certainly stick in the mind for a
long time.However the “this too will pass” syndrome usually
works and apparently we are now in growth mode.Cheerful economists still say, with a shake of the head, that it’s the
wrong sort of growth and it isn’t likely to be sustainable.
Whatever, there is a distinct feeling of optimism among the
SMEs with whom I work and the magic word “growth”
is on most people’s agendas (agendae?).
So what sort of growth are we looking for?Why should a relatively cautious forecast not
be just what is needed at this time?How
indeed do we encourage people to accept that the economy is turning for the
better and everyone will benefit?
Growth in a business is a two part exercise.I recall years ago making the point that we
can’t expect dissatisfied people to give great service to customers.
In the same way, while a little creative accounting can
often show that a business is growing, until the people are absolutely on side,
feel that their contribution is valued and valuable, and above all know where
the business is going then sustainable growth is not on the horizon.
So what needs to be done?Cautious forecasts are usually achieved and even sometimes exceeded to
nobody’s surprise and do little to excite the people.
The concept of the B-HAG, the Big Hairy Audacious Goal
(that’s the clean version) will do much more to excite people even if they say
at the outset that it can’t be achieved for many and various reasons.
In fact, as long as the business objectives are clear, well
communicated and include what is needed to be done to achieve the objectives
then anything is possible.
Henry Ford said:
“If you say you can
and you say you can’t you are always right”
There is a difference between growth of a business and that
of an individual.In the case of the
individual growth is very personal and really says that as we learn more we
grow in intellect and consequent stature.
The lesson for leaders is to ensure that everyone in the
business is given that opportunity; to learn is to maximise the contribution to
the future of the business, so send people on relevant courses, bring in
speakers to the business and start a library both physical and online open to
all at any time.
Encourage innovation by asking people their opinions about
situations which could be improved and how they would solve a problem.Use brainstorming techniques to show people
that their contribution is valued and make their solution visible to everyone.
Above all, remember that people want to know how they are
doing and where the business is going.That means that as many people as is feasible should contribute on some
way to the strategic thinking and when the short and medium term objectives
have been set, performance should constantly and regularly be communicated so
that everyone knows where we are going.
Dissatisfied people do not contribute to the success of a
Involved, engaged and
aligned people whose opinions are given the respect they deserve working in an
atmosphere of transparency and clarity can achieve and even exceed that B-HAG.
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