By Eliakim Thorpe
Matthew and Janice are emerging entrepreneurs who recently went into business together. During a lunch meeting at a local restaurant they began to discuss their future profit projections and how well their business is performing financially six-months after its opening. What began as a conversation about dollars and profit margins quickly turned into a debate over the Great Recession, and the benefits of transforming an organization primarily driven by profit, to an organization led by purpose-driven employees.
Matthew prefers to discuss profit strategy, profit projections, and profit margin regardless of the current economic conditions impacting revenue. He firmly believes that the organization can be financially resilient during economic turmoil if a profit strategy is developed. Janice believes in maximizing human capital; not necessarily every employee, but those who’ve demonstrated passion, dedication and an unwavering commitment because of their belief in the values of the organization. She is confident that if people change, the organization will change and weather any economic instability.
Rose, a well-respected manager, joined in and shared her perspective on the importance of organizational transformation that must be internally-driven by people, and not solely motivated by bottom lines. She believes that if human capital is not leveraged properly within an organization, transformation can never occur and the development of a profit/revenue strategy will be insufficient in an ever-changing global economy. Conversely, some of the most resilient organizations can encounter troubles because they fail to realize the importance of organizational transformation. The most successful brands implement organizational transformation designed to change people and not organizational structures.
Rose and Janice are correct. The engine to every economy is people. Without people there is no economy. Purpose-driven, passionate, talented, and dedicated employees make transformation successful. As an enterprise, you evaluate what is in your control and what you can influence. You can’t control market conditions, inflation, and the decline of the economy. But you can control the growth of people and the emphasis you place on having a transformed workforce during a prospering and declining economy.
When you embark on your leadership journey to foster a transformative work environment, it is critical that you can ensure consistency and long-term success. There are four keys to reproducible results for business leaders, entrepreneurs and executives to consider on the path to transformation.
1) Engaged Employees: During any transformational process, it is imperative that the organization understand that people power the transformation. Organizations must understand that the greatest commodity at their disposal is not products, profit or capital—but people. Every dimension of a transformational company is tightly connected to its people because they are the greatest asset of any business.
Your workforce must be your company’s cornerstone if it is to be successful, profitable and sustainable. Without people, there is no organization! When your workforce feels—and truly believes—that they have a direct stake in the future of the company, they become invaluable assets toward your transformative goals.
2) Organizational Culture: Every organization must learn to be intentional about the attitudes, behaviors, values and guiding principles it broadcasts. Whatever a leader broadcasts becomes its organizational culture. Organizational culture is built upon Convictions, Conduct and Character. If the manager or leader is unable to demonstrate these 3 C’s, it will create bad attitudes, unwanted behaviors, limited perspectives, and difficult working environment.
Developing this culture requires a committed and consistent articulation of its values that contribute to the social and psychological environment of any organization. A culture that includes expectations, experiences and a shared philosophy by all provides guidance on how an organization interacts with its employees and its customer (in a larger context, its community and society). In essence, organizational culture is simply the temperament of an enterprise led by its leader who is skilled with setting the temperature. The temperament of the leader will determine the culture of an organization. A strong organizational culture becomes the GPS when an organization loses it way!
3) Performance Increase: Every organization wants a greater ROI. Greater output and increased productivity come at minimal cost when employees are engaged and there is a strong culture courses through your company. Many businesses define performance as the intellectual and physical energy of an employee which is designed to meet a specific job responsibility. It is leveraging the capabilities of its workforce to generate greater output. The better the alignment with vision and value, the more likely people will rise to greater output. The components of a productive and high-performing organization include decisive and quick thinking and decision-making, fast to-market strategy, and the ability to maintain momentum. Leaders must be skilled at energizing the workforce gifts and talents if greater productivity is desired. When employees are motivated, greater productivity is manifested!
4) New Product Innovation: Creativity and ingenuity must be at the forefront of product innovation. Employees want to create impact. The best way for that to occur is to allow them to be part of the innovation-based projects in your company by letting them get their hands dirty. Ideation is important, but being part of implementing the ideas that come to life can be a more exciting and meaningful growth opportunity for your employees that will inspire them to perform.
Additionally, provide your employees the resources to be innovative in their work. When given the right tools and resources, the best employees will instinctively challenge themselves to be more innovative—and will perform better. When an organization is immersed in a transformational culture—not just ideation—innovation occurs.
Organizations that are successful in their transformational endeavors are people-centered, purpose-driven, solution-focused, service-oriented, profit-savvy, and innovatively positioned to create lasting change. The challenge in business leadership or entrepreneurism nowadays is the ability to be resolute and steadfast in an economic climate that appears to promote profit above partnership with consumers to create lasting change in and around the community. Organizations are more likely to face adverse economic conditions if they are primarily driven by profit. Investment in people must be at the center of any transformational organization.
Close observation of successful organizations during adversity found that those who believed in transformational leadership styles and a workforce with a transformative and evolved culture resulted in a boost in profits, highly-motivated employees and stronger organizational outcomes.
Eliakim Thorpe is a highly sought-after speaker, consultant, thought-leader and entrepreneur, author, and a leading authority on organizational transformation. He is the creator of the T.H.R.I.V.I.N.G. Organization: A New Philosophy to Transform Organizations, which is both a philosophy and a systematic process to help businesses create frameworks to become transformational—internally and externally. As an IT professional, Eliakim has worked with and consulted for Fortune 10 to Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, Whirlpool and GM. For more information about Eliakim, please visit www.eliakimthorpespeaks.com.