People = Success

by | December 11, 2017

As we wrap up the year, I’m trying to stay focused on the important planning tasks for 2018.  I’ve been learning about and have begun implementing a program over the past year based on the book “Scaling Up” by Verne Harnish.   The program’s core pillars are People, Strategy, Execution and Cash with each pillar leading you to questions and planning that leads to the next one.  When we plan, I think our focus is on strategy and execution – who are we, what do we want to achieve, and how are we going to get there.   The “Scaling Up” methodology, though, begins with People.  If you don’t have enough cash, take a look at your execution plan.  If that looks good, consider whether your strategy is right.  If you are confident that the strategy is right, you probably have some work to do on the people side.  That surprised me, but does make sense when we think about what drives the success of the business.

It’s easy for a leader to assume that the individuals he or she has hired will get the job done.   However, these employees can’t read minds. They haven’t been there since the company’s beginnings and are not ingrained in the history and culture of the company.  They learn about the company from the other employees and how things operate.  As the leader, you must ensure that what they are learning are the important facets of culture and success in your organization based on the strategy.  They must be informed of the critical success factors and drivers of the business and how they and others fit into and affect those critical success factors.  Their duties and incentives must have their own metrics aligned with the company’s metrics so they know what success looks like.

Yes, that’s a lot to do for employees but if you want your business to grow beyond you, the key factors for success must be clear and regularly communicated.  Saying it once during the onboarding process will not be enough.  These need to be front and center day-in and day-out with visible celebration of the victories and debriefing the defeats.  Put your people in roles where they are armed with the necessary understanding of what success looks like and reward them for achieving it.

I’m with you – this sounds like a lot of work.  As we’ve begun this process, I already see the benefits and look forward to more.