Focus On Growth

Thursday, May 1 2008

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.

~ Benjamin Franklin 
American statesman, scientist, philosopher, printer, writer, and inventor (1706-1790)

Here are some strategies to help you Focus on Growth. Consider how to implement these ideas, which are designed to help you to generate growth in your organization.

Find the Right People for the Right Roles: Positive people, with the right skill sets, working effectively, are the key to organizational growth. An engine cannot run smoothly when one of the components is out of alignment. It might be able to operate slowly, but not efficiently.

Organize Work Effectively: Everyone needs to have clarity about what is expected of them. Set SMART goals and actions with your team, and then work the plan. Ideally, 80% of a person’s time should be spent on Top Pay-off activities.

Coach for Success: Coaching gives companies an advantage. It has been shown to have a 6:1 ROI. It involves getting commitment, giving guidance, providing support, and ensuring accountability.

Understand People’s Issues and Concerns: Listen with empathy and don’t prejudge. Deal with the issues and facilitate resolutions as quickly as possible, because unresolved, these issues, concerns, or mistakes cost valuable time and money.

Support Your Team: Organizational growth requires that people take risks – push the envelope. People need to be confident that if something goes wrong, they will be fully supported by you – they will not be hung out to dry. You demonstrate this by words and actions. Each individual is responsible for their results, and as a leader you are also fully responsible for their results.

Open Your Mind: Everyone should keep an open mind and be willing to listen to the perspective of others, and be willing to change if that perspective makes sense. Too often people want to keep doing the familiar because it is easier and more comfortable. Without change there can be no growth, and without an open mind there will be no change.

Negotiate: Mutual Agreement and Mutual Determination ensure that the people who have to perform the work are involved in decisions that impact that work; goals are discussed not dictated. If changes are considered there is discussion, before implementation, about the impact on a specific task. The performance of those who have not bought into a goal will invariably reflect their lack of commitment.

Generate Enthusiasm: Create an environment that inspires people to perform at the highest level. Key aspects that contribute to setting the right environment include:

  • maintaining a physical environment that is conducive to effective performance
  • having the right people on the team
  • defining responsibilities clearly
  • developing the right skill sets to enable each person to manage those responsibilities
  • dealing with issues as they arise
  • providing regular, timely, and constructive feedback to all team members

Reward Results: Clearly define and negotiate the end results that you want the individuals, the team, and the organization to achieve. Track results closely. Mutually evaluate and take responsibility for those results. Ensure that you are paying for performance and not attendance!

Opportunities to Learn from Others: As a leader you will not have all the answers. Unfortunately people in senior roles often don’t like to admit when they don’t know something. Tapping into the knowledge, skills, talents, and abilities of members of your team helps everyone to grow. People like to feel that they are valued and that their talents are being used.

Walk the Talk: Actions really do speak louder than words. You cannot expect others to behave in a manner that you would like, if you do not behave the same way. If, for example, you want others to keep their commitments, then it is imperative that you keep all your commitments to others, or if you absolutely can’t meet a commitment that you let others know ahead of time.

Trust: One of the key components that builds relationships is trust. Companies grow because of the efforts and performance of people, and how they interact together. The equation is simple: low trust = low moral = low results.

Happiness: The results for the organization are influenced by efforts to help people enjoy their work experience. The first step is to get to know people, discover what motivates them, what makes them happy, and what is bothering them about work. Then you can enhance the positive and help people to find a solution to their challenges. Happy people are generally productive people.