May 03, 2015

Potential and Profitability is in Your People


If you’re a business owner or executive, you’ve laid awake at night pondering this. You’ve been unable to eat or overeaten because of it. You’ve been irritable and hard to get along with because of it. The pressure of it sometimes seems to be all-consuming. Yet, the answer is right there in front of you. It can be your greatest curse or your most outstanding blessing. What is it? The potential that’s lying dormant in your greatest asset; your people. How do I know that you aren’t tapping into the full potential of your people? Notice what the poll below reveals:

Harris Interactive polled 23,000 U.S. residents that are employed full-time regarding the leadership, employees, and the roles the play in their companies.

Only 37% have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve
Just 20% were enthusiastic about their team’s and organization’s goals
As few as 20% of workers have a clear “line-of-sight” between their tasks and their team’s and organization’s goals
A high-point of 50% were happy with the work they accomplish at the end of each week
Only 15% felt that the organization fully enables them to execute key goals
An incredibly low 15% felt they work in high-trust environments
Unsurprisingly, just 17% felt their organization fosters open communication
A noteworthy 10% felt their organization holds people accountable for results
A mere 20% fully trust the organization they work for
How does that translate into usable knowledge? I think you’ll appreciate this illustration from Stephen Covey’s book The 8th Habit:

If you had an 11-member sports team, here are the behaviors you would see:

Only 4 of 11 players would know which goal was theirs
Only 2 of 11 would care
Only 2 of 11 would know what position they play and what their role is
9 of 11 would, in some way, be competing against their own team, instead of the opponent.
What coach would keep their job with those stats? The good news is that those stats can be turned around. Whether it’s Employee Engagement, Culture, or any of the numerous discussions that abound about increasing employee productivity and effectiveness; the problem and the solution ultimately leads to the same place. President Harry Truman recognized that truism. President Truman had a 13-inch sign that sat on his desk that read, “The buck stops here!” As a business leader, what sign would people say sits on your desk?

Dr. Edward Lewellen is a Master Executive Coach, leadership and sales expert, and keynote speaker for some of the largest global organizations.