We’ve all met leaders who are driven. They have a particular mindset; one of constant improvement, of never wanting to stand still. They are relentless in their quest to deliver. They blend key ingredients to unlock that perfect flavour of performance.
When was the last time you tasted the ideal blend of leadership? How did it taste?
When it comes to inspiring team to perform, there are some key ingredients and some leaders are driven to find the perfect balance of flavours to inspire their team to achieve their goals.
So when you think back to the last time you saw strong leadership, ask yourself what key drivers informed that cocktail. Was it driven by the need to be more productive, maybe increase efficiency, be more innovative and creative? As leaders, we have to find the ideal mix of ingredients to get our teams to perform. What is your ideal ‘taste’? What is the blend you need to achieve your objectives?
The test of leadership is to get the ingredients right. To blend those ingredients in perfect measure and most importantly to maintain the right mix to ensure sustainable performance.
It is my view that leaders are responsible for blending three (not so secret) ingredients; to provide clarity and purpose for their organisation, to create an environment where their people can and (more importantly), want to perform, and finally, to equip their people with the capability to deliver. This seems to be a complex cocktail. Getting it right will have huge benefits. Get the right blend, and you instantly recognise it and the taste is amazing.
What happens when the flavours don’t work?
If the mix is slightly off, the imbalance leads to a plethora of issues. Amongst other things; disengagement, missed opportunities and worst of all a dissatisfied end customer. All of which have a cost and, like a dripping tap, will have dripped away before you even realise.
People are your greatest asset; they are key to your business achieving its strategic aims. Business invests heavily in kit, inventory and machinery, they protect it, service and maintain it. They look after it to best optimise it. Do you approach your people in the same way? Do you invest in them the way you do your systems and machinery? After all, they are the ones who can make or break a process, optimise a machine and delight your customers.
A major bank I worked with embarked on a development programme to get their ‘mix’ right. They involved the people and outlined the aims of the programme. They created an environment where their people could own a challenge of their choosing. They could approach it in any way they chose. Before they started, they equipped their people with tools to help them. The impact was huge.
The bank found that their people picked things that bothered them the most, they challenged assumptions and broke down cross-functional barriers. They reduced call wait times by two-thirds. They saw 30% reduction in calls into their contact centre by increasing the quality of customer communication and through challenging their processes they reduced operating costs by 25%. Their single biggest win was to challenge the perception that the IT team were too busy and together they fixed a long-standing technical issue that released capacity they valued at nearly £4m.
They achieved a perfect blend for them. People had clarity and were invited to take the challenge. They understood how they could make an impact and received development with the tools and an environment in which they could perform. And, perform they did, beyond the expectations of anyone!
My challenge to you as a leader is to ask yourself and your teams:
- How clear are you about what you want and what is compelling about it that your people should come with you on your journey?
- What environment do you have, is it conducive to delivering your strategy?
- How effective are you at optimising the capability of your people, with tools, systems and process?
- What impact would the perfect cocktail have on your business or team?
We believe that individuals, teams and business units underperform. Not because they want to, not because they intend to, but because they can’t get out of their own way.
This may not be down to them; it could be the culture or work environment. Our experiences shape our mindset and work habits, often causing people to get stuck.
We create mindsets that unlock productivity and realise potential.