How Successful Leaders Enable Better Performance

  • How Successful Leaders Enable Better Performance

    How Successful Leaders Enable Better Performance

    Values Driven Leadership

    Sustainable business change comes when business leaders align their values and behaviours to build high performing teams.

    As a business owner you are often wrestling with the all too familiar pressures to grow the business, whilst maintaining cash flow in a competitive marketplace. But, failing to focus on values will mean you miss out.

    Better alignment of the team to meet today’s obvious pressures and tomorrow’s priorities is also business critical.

    In the face of turbulence and uncertainty organisation’s culture and values become the major source of continuity and coherence, of renewal and sustainability. How are you paying attention to the right things?

    Leadership Values

    The challenge for any business is to recognise that a command and control approach to management is much less likely to help meet future challenges. There is pressure upon business leaders to tighten their grip to balance the books and maintain cash flow. However, the counterintuitive response is to engage and harness the silent potential that lies within the workforce.

    Control versus creativity

    Many employees are effectively forced to leave their own values, creativity and ideas at the door on the way in. Leaders need to retune their approach and be actively working to create a culture that minimises management control. Hierarchy, status and fear, are counterproductive.  Instead promote freedom, equity, accountability, fairness, openness, transparency and trust. Recognise the value of diversity in thinking and background within your team.

    A more systemic approach to building resilience and goodwill is required to navigate with increasing complexity world.

    Easy to say, but less easy to achieve when leaders take a short term view.

    Safeguard the fish

    I like the analogy of fish swimming in a dirty fish tank.

    Businesses often change a few big fish (managers). In a few cases some or all of the water (priorities, policies – organisational governance is amended).

    However, rarely do we take time to safeguard the rest of the fish (employees), deep clean the tank, and then slowly reintroduce the larger group of fish to a new and different environment and operating model (culture).

    Communicating Effectively

    Now I am not an aquarist, but I have lost a few goldfish in my time! It always seems to be down to one of two things.

    The first is overfeeding. I mean using the same old management speak.  Usually repeated over and over until everyone gets sick of the message.  As a result, this makes the water become toxic and some of the fish die. In other words, good people leave your business for a better place to work.

    Alternatively, it can be failing to properly safeguard the fish (employees)  during the process of cleaning the tank.  Instead of allowing the water in the tank to settle and stabilise before then reintroducing the fish (systemic change).

    Living The Values

    By better understanding values you can improve the relationship between the view of individuals and what business leaders espouse for their organisation.

    Personal values are driven by personal beliefs and are affected by our behaviour. However, a better understanding of personal values and alignment with those within our business creates a higher performing organisation.

    Understanding the gap between the current view (water in the fish tank) and the desired culture will give leaders a better chance of bringing about systemic change.

    Understanding values means better business

    Successful business owners pay more attention to understanding and aligning personal values with espoused organisational values. The difference between what you think and say, and actually do in practice.  These are the values that other people see lived out in the organisation each day.

    We must live the values and translate meaning into daily interactions with everyone we meet. In turn, the mission and vision for the business must align with espoused values to ensure a believable story for employees and customers alike.

    In return, you will see increased employee engagement, improved productivity, improved client outcomes, and better financial returns.

    How do your employees and customers describe your current organisational culture?