You don’t have to be a leader to be aware of the pace of change and the challenges of competing and surviving in today’s global market. As a leader, however, you certainly face them every working hour; perhaps every waking hour and possibly even in your sleep. But then, no-one ever said survival was easy. On the contrary, you’ve always relished the fact it isn’t, and that is what has driven you.
Even so, there must be times when you feel like an early explorer and question why you ever embarked on your journey. If you do, there is no shame in admitting it. Those intrepid sailors must have had doubts in the face of severe storms miles away from anything familiar. And your situation is not dissimilar. You may not have left the shore, but you are just as much a pioneer, trying to map out routes for others to follow. No-one has ever before had to meet the challenges you do, on the scale you do, or with the consequences you face. Arguably, the risks are no less significant now than they were then.
If you haven’t ever considered yourself in this light, perhaps now is a good time to do so. And to question how you are performing in the role.
- Pursuit of continuous improvement;
- Use of the term “Learning Organisation”;
- Recognition of employees as “knowledge workers”; and, perhaps less obviously,
- Use of the term “human capital”.
All these, as I suggested previously, point to the fact that management theory and practice is evolving: something you would expect following a revolution. After all, any revolution results in a change in models, systems and behaviours. Managing this evolution is what makes you a pioneer. And, to be a successful pioneer and secure the future you have to shape those changes.
The key to doing so is implicit in the term “human capital.” More than anything else, this not only acknowledges the contribution of people, but builds on the concept of employees as knowledge workers and so recognises the value they add to the organisation. It moves employees beyond being “resources” and implicitly recognises them as the assets they are so frequently described as, but never managed as!
Recognising employees as human capital inevitably creates greater expectations. It means that you:
- Can no longer consider them as “hired hands” but rather as a vital cog in the running of the organisation.
- Have to ensure they have the knowledge they need.
- Have to enable them to use their intelligence and apply their knowledge for the ultimate good of the organisation.
This is why you need to move away from the traditional (industrial age) hierarchical model and create a more organic model that allows people to interact more on an as-needed basis and thus be more responsive and adaptive.
With its predetermined lines of communication, the hierarchical model inevitably and unavoidably slows down or prevents proper communication, slowing service and stunting development. The hierarchical model not only fails to recognise the evolution of management, but also completely fails to recognise the constantly evolving nature of the organisation itself. Every change alters the dynamics of the organisation itself.
This inevitably brings you back to the three basic drivers of motivation identified by people like Daniel Pink – Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose – all of which are inextricably tied to the individual. All are also essential for an organisation to become more organic, simply because the focus on the people. Thus, to be an effective pioneer you have to find a way to bring these into play and make your business more organic. So, before you can answer how well you are doing as a pioneer, you have to review how well you are doing in this area.
Only you can answer that question. I would, however, wager that you are not doing as well as you would like. If that is the case, then I can offer you some relief. My ‘Every Individual Matters’ Model offers you an ideal way to accelerate your progress, steal a march on your competitors and ensure your success as a pioneer.
If you like what you have read contact me today to discuss how my ‘Every Individual Matters’ Model could provide the catalyst to help you create a culture in which everyone cares and the business becomes our business, embedding improvement that transforms – and sustains – organic business performance.
Bay is the founder and director of Zealise, and the creator of the ‘Every Individual Matters’ organisational culture model that helps transform organisational performance and bottom-line results. Bay is also the author of several books, including “Lean Organisations Need FAT People” and “The 7 Deadly Toxins of Employee Engagement” and, more recently, The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped.