WE ARE NOT ROBOTS!!!!
Too bad… it would make things easier….
We are humans, subject to errors, failures and all sorts of unpredictabilities.
So WHY do so many businesses fail to invest adequately in their people? Fail to get them to peak performance every day??
I have worked with leaders in business across a number of organizations, small to large. One thing that often strikes me, particularly for small to medium size businesses, and especially startups, is the contrast between the significant effort, organization, and diligence put into the business plan and the lack of the same put into the “people and culture plan” (often close to no time, energy or resources).
The thing is, the cost of human capital (compensation, other direct expenses, and a whole host of indirect costs) is the biggest expenditure in most businesses, as well as being one of the biggest risk factors (human performance varies to extremes from day to day – and a few wrong decisions can destroy a sale, a quarter or an entire business!).
Leaving your people and culture plan to chance…
- no formal strategy to integrate values into everyday behaviors, communications and performance measurement
- no strategy to anticipate and prepare for org chart expansion and re-structures as you evolve through planned and unanticipated growth
- no strategy to keep your people engaged & motivated on a daily basis (more than just the annual pat on the back)
- no strategy to systematize performance accountability
- no strategy that seamlessly connects all points of the journey of an employee from recruitment, hiring, through induction, development, promotion and retirement
- no strategy to ensure effective leadership succession for the long term
means you are taking HUGE risks… and, as a performance psychologist, I can tell you that your people will be most vulnerable at the most critical, high pressure moments in your business.
I’m not saying you will not succeed without a formal people & culture strategy – you may not NEED this to survive – but the likelihood is that you could be SO MUCH BETTER with a well planned approach to getting the most from your number one asset.
What can you do about it?
- Decide – First step is making the decision that people and culture strategy is as important, if not more important, than your sales or marketing plan (Who is going to do the marketing and selling? A computer or a human?)
- Act – Do something – get your partners or senior leadership team together and develop a comprehensive plan
- Ask for Help – Not sure how to build an awesome plan that drives peak performance? Reach out to an expert. A good consultant won’t come cheap, but will deliver enormous value (paying someone $50k, $100k or even $500k may seem crazy, but not if the work they do generates $500k to several millions in human capital cost savings and/or helps drive similar business revenue).
- Implement Continuously – Whether you have developed an excellent strategy on your own or with the help of experts, the only thing that will make a difference is if you implement it in your business, every day. (Strategy with inconsistent implementation is like going to the gym randomly a couple of times a month and hoping to get fit).
- Evolve – We know the business landscape changes continuously, and discerning leaders adjust their business plans to adapt to those changes. Similarly, the people landscape changes – and good leaders adjust how they manage their people in accordance with changing expectations, generational differences, and the like.
I think about the modern family – in which parents are doing everything they can to bring their kids up healthy and happy, and preparing them in the best ways possible for the chaotic world ahead. When do you stop investing in your family?
It might be time to see your business family as a worthwhile investment!
I would love to hear your thoughts!
Dr Sean R