Want to run a great company? Set and communicate a great strategy, attract great people, and get the heck out of their way. Whether you’re looking to scale or just operate with less stress, that’s the simple and very difficult secret sauce to mix.
Strategy People Understand
Strategic planning done well writes the playbook for scale. It allows a company to set expectations and priorities such that everyone in the organization is working toward a common goal. And then another. And then another. Sprint after sprint, stage after stage – business can be like the Barkley Marathon. Not for the feint of heart, but what an addictive rush at the end of each stage!
Like any athlete, business leaders have coaches and trainers – people to help them with their planning and communication skills. Humans are notoriously incapable of recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses. Our unconscious biases are unknown to us (that’s what the “unconscious” refers to). It takes an outside perspective to deliver the rake in the face that can push a leader to greatness. And those great leaders seem to have effortless, immediate answers to questions such as:
- Why do you love what you do?
- What does your company stand for?
- Where are you going?
- How is your offering different from the rest?
- Why should I care?
Of course, the messaging isn’t effortless at all. It is the result of consistent practice over years – like the muscle memory of a great athlete. When leadership develops a routine to hone their strategy AND their communication of that strategy it does appear to be easy. An overnight success a decade in the making.
Another part of corporate strategy involves identifying the resources necessary for execution. The organization chart identifies the specific people skills, knowledge and experience the company will need for growth. It doesn’t identify peoples’ names. It identifies the skills they have and the results they will muster. Once you have a product or service that people want to buy; once you have some cash to make it, it comes back to the people.
Attract Great People
Finding the right people without a clear definition of who you need and how the skills need to combine is an enormous challenge. The organization chart helps to define who you need. But what is a business to do in the face of an increasingly competitive talent market? How do we attract the great people we need? It’s not about free cold-pressed juice and beanbag chairs, or even compensation (though that needs to be fair). There are a lot of places great people can make money. And for the gen y/z crowd – they’re super mobile. Quit a job without one lined up? No problem – it’s not like they have a mortgage to service. Besides, everyone’s looking for people. They can pick up a new job for more money in a heartbeat. So, what do they want?
Of course, they want what everyone else wants. They want to love their job, feel like they’re making a meaningful contribution to the world, feel like they’re running toward a valuable goal. Most of all, they want to feel special. Like where they work is the place to be and they’re lucky to have found such an amazing spot. Don’t you want that too? Look back at those strategic questions. Why do you love what you do? What do you stand for? When the messages are crafted (and lived) to inspire you, they will also inspire others.
It’s all about what it’s always been about. The people. Their dreams, their desires, their need to belong. Stop complaining that you can’t find good people and start developing the ones you have. Don’t worry so much about “leadership skills”. Figure out what you want for your business and get really good at painting that vision in such a way others will understand. You’ll find the right people when you create the ability for them to self-select into your dream.
Bellrock helps companies create a playbook to achieve their goals and train their people to get them there. Our purpose is to develop life-long relationships and raving fans. If you found this article valuable, don’t be stingy. Share