Person and company – new challenges and opportunities 

Joseph Ricciardelli, founding partner at Tecla Consulting, and Oleg Chistyakov, TPM Director at Baltika Breweries bring the latest instalment of the lean diary and give some tips on how to ensure a team is untied and working towards a common goal.

Within any organisation, one could usually find an isolated individual at the pedestal, a hero.

In corporate cases, it can often be the CEO of the company, he or she who defines the strategy and selects managers with enough willingness to strive towards the pre-defined company’s goals.

If he or she succeeds, they can be seen on the very same pedestal – alone.

However, reality is more diverse and a manager does not always achieve this. Mostly, because their people do not believe in or cannot identify with what has been set for them in advance. It is like a group of people trying to move a big rock obstructing a path: they can cope by moving the rock in one direction, but pushing the rock in different directions will bring only frustration and exhaustion.

How do we involve people to strive toward the same aim? And how do we have them do it with passion and eagerness?

Trust, respect, attention, consistency are just a few of the fundamental characteristics that enable sustainable growth within a company. Fundamental, but not sufficient. The recent “Global Human Capital Trends 2014” research of Deloitte showed that for a company to succeed, it should pay more attention to:

  • Developing leadership at all levels,
  • Attracting and involving talents,
  • Reconsidering HR’s role in business globally.

Yet, there is another very important point attributed to performance management: coherence between the company’s strategy and the personal aspirations of its key players. Building and cultivating the interrelation between fulfilling personal potential and gaining long-term advantage, can give a firm a competitive advantage, which will ensure long term sustainability of the business and making it attractive for further talent.

Many companies can testify how is to have people personal agendas fitting organisation’s strategy – stories of death like Enron’s case and prosperity like Google’s life. Also, according to Kevin Kruse, 29 research studies showed a correlation between engagement and service, sales, quality, safety, retention, profit and total shareholder returns. The engagement of employees (when they strive to perform work as best as possible and derive pleasure and benefit from it) has measurable influence on business. For example, following the Gallup research, the USA economy lost about $300b annually from an insufficient engagement of employees. One of the successful ways to engage staff is the intersection of company goals with the personal aims of the employee. The wider influence the person has on business, the more important company success and sustainability is to them.

Now, what are the steps a company could follow to nurture this advantage?

Be ready to arm yourself with patience and time necessary for studying, structuring and developing the new approach, skills and habits. Time should be pulled literally minute by minute from the habitual schedule of the life of busy person.

1) Create and air your business strategy

Understanding and creating the business strategy is the milestone. When you have it, it is easier to see what you need as enablers and deliverables. A basis for successful change and creation of the system is a crystal clear understanding of: “Why is it necessary for us?” The top team then draws a detailed and bright picture of changes taking place in the world outside of the company and the success that will emerge by changing these conditions to the business.

2) Create personal strategies with top-managers

Key people, aka, top managers as role models for employees, should be involved, to work together on creating personal strategies around the unique corporate one. Connected with opportunities and strengths, instead of restrictions, gaps and “you must” approaches, these personal aspiration discussions will inspire and drive an immediate boost and engagement of people.

3) Teach them how to charge their internal batteries and upsurge mind plasticity

To have people pursue the newly built up strategy, we need them charged with energy. For a personal energy boost, we need to maintain the functions of the body, develop flexibility of mind and will power. All three components are closely interconnected and actively influence each other’s progress.

Thus, to ensure sustainable results, it is worth paying more attention to understanding why and how:

• To maintain and keep body health (food, physical activity, stress management, etc.);

• To boost mind flexibility and brain performance;

• To develop abilities to concentrate (it is key to ensure formation of new habits and skills).

4) Encourage their growth and involve more people

Involve other key managers and experts into the programme or have them join voluntarily. Realising how you value your team’s ideas; intertwine and align the company and team’s personal strategy; support, nurture and enhance their potential; is a great motivation for others to step in.

At some point the avalanche affect will appear, and the programme will develop promptly. Once it starts, it will depend on the commitment of top team members to a new way and the health of basic characteristics of the company (trust, consistency). By deeply understanding how the goals and tasks of the company correspond with the aspirations the staff allows employees to bring more value to business. This advantage will create an ocean of new opportunities for the company.

A hero in a company? There are The Discoverers, a fifty metre tall monument, shaped like a ship’s prow at the starting point for many Portuguese explorers. It shows more than thirty statues of people who played an important role in the discoveries.

You don’t need a hero in your company. You need a leader and motivated crew that would all together take your company in the quest for success. Cherish them all.