A prior column “Transitioning from Entrepreneur to Business Leader” described what a big step it was from business founder to leader of a successful business. It dealt with the individual attributes and the challenge in becoming a respected business leader.
Now let’s go beyond your individual leadership growth to how you can impact the entire culture, the operating environment of your business where every employee wants to perform to the best of their abilities.
Being a great leader of a successful business is more than earning a profit. It’s about empowering those around you, forging a high-performance culture where all individuals can excel to the best of their abilities.
There are a couple of key phrases in the last two paragraphs:
– every employee wants to perform to the best of their abilities.
– where all individuals can excel to the best of their abilities.
High-performance environments do not exist where individuals are told what to do or where everyone is expected to perform a certain way and at a certain level. Anyone who has been in this kind of environment knows that it is overseen by a manager with no leadership skills, is poor performing with low morale, has high turnover and is going down the path to failure.
Which is a great segue to the first thing a high-performing environment needs; the right people. In fact I believe one of the first things a highly successful business does on it’s way to creating a high-performance culture is to master the art of finding, keeping, and growing the right people. Plus, good people with talent attract other good people with talent which provides purpose, fuels passion, drives momentum and most significantly, builds a culture.
Building this “right people culture” creates an operating environment that becomes your ultimate competitive advantage in your business sector and against all competitors. Your business product, what you sell, can never be your competitive advantage because better products and lower pricing happen all the time.
Understand by “right people culture,” I am talking about your operating environment; I am not talking about any individual because people leave companies or they can be stolen by competitors. But no competitor can ever steal your operating environment.
As the business leader, your next step should be to share responsibilities, goals and objectives. You want all these “right people” to think and act like owners, where everyone knows that creating long-term value counts. Employees in high performing businesses not only have a clear understanding of their jobs (that means written job descriptions) but understand how their job adds to the long-term value of the business.
These employees understand the link between the functions they perform and overall company performance and they are compensated for it. These same employees also understand that the bulk of their compensation is based on the value they create for the business.
So now we have gone from the “right person culture” to the “right people being able to make the right decisions culture.”. If you want to lead a successful business with a high-performance environment then the right people with the knowledge, need to make the decisions. To be the leader in this environment you need to know when not to be the decision maker and that the hierarchal structure does not determine who makes decisions.
Leaders who focus on the “right person, right decision culture” will observe a transformation of their culture from one that required constant supervision, fire-fighting and oversight, to one that allows them to focus on serving the needs of the team and each individual team member in a high-performance environment.