Any leader worth their salt will be passionate about achieving their goals, whether that’s opening offices overseas, recruiting new staff, securing funding, capturing new markets or ensuring targets are achieved. With the right people around you that passion can spread like a fire storm, inspiring others to do amazing things which drive the organisation’s success. With the wrong people around you, that passion feels more like a parent dragging an uncooperative child around and leads to resentment from both parties, which is not a recipe for successfully scaling a business and achieving results.
So when we’re working with leaders who find themselves in the latter camp, we ask them a question – were they the wrong people when you hired them, or have you made them that way?
When we talk about the right and wrong people, we’re really talking about how they behave and whether that behaviour is conducive to driving your organisation’s success. So the question is about whether their behaviours were taken into account at the hiring stage or how the organisation has inadvertently shaped them to behave in a way which hampers its own success.
One way that organisations can drive the wrong behaviours is through their rewards programme. We’ve seen programmes that inadvertantly encourage staff to reduce their efforts in order to push deals into the next period to increase their personal benefit, or programmes which drive an increase in the quantity of deals done at the expense of the quality of service which reduces repeat and referral business. Another way they can drive the wrong behaviours is through their culture. Whether through a fear of blame or an attempt to protect the CEO from bad news, we often see information being filtered or sanitised by the senior leadership before it reaches the CEO which means that decisions are being made based on inaccurate information.
The good news is that whichever way they answer the question, we can provide a solution. Most people start out wanting to do a good job at work, but there are a number of factors which can affect their desire and capacity to drive your business forwards. We find that these factors fall under the headings of Trust, Communication, Inspiration, Skills, Equipment and Permissions.
By working with everyone in the business and assessing how these factors play out at the individual, team and organisational level, we can provide insight to the leadership into what’s driving how everyone (including the leadership) is behaving, the impact that is having on performance and off the back of that, design solutions to change and develop the mind-sets, behaviours, culture and infrastructure to drive more productive, innovative and scalable behaviours. Making the right changes now can have a massive impact on the organisation’s bottom line, rate of attrition, customer focus, creativity and the organisation’s value.
So ask yourself two questions:
- Are my people as willing and able as possible to drive my organisation’s success?
- Were they like that when we hired them or have we made them that way?
Mary Sherry is an Organisational Psychologist and Psychotherapist, she is the British Psychological Society’s expert point of contact with the media on the topic of performance and she is the founder of APPS. Mary works with individuals, teams and organisations to develop the right mind-sets, behaviours, culture and infrastructure for success.