Are your Employees Acting for the Business or Themselves?
by Kevin D. Crone
Improving a business sometimes feels like an impossible task. Why don’t some groups take the actions necessary that will improve the business? I remember working with a team that was trying to increase their revenues and it became clear that the management and individuals involved had designed the business to fit their personal lives. No matter how I tried to get them to understand their market place , their customer’s needs/wants/motives and how to reach them with a powerful offering and compelling messaging, they weren’t into it. Their basic thinking was, with my busy schedule I’m not getting what I want right now from the business and my life. I’m just not that interested.
When I asked them to tell me what they wanted and how they are going to get there, it was usually about how the company should be doing something for them. Their short term, personal needs were always more important than long term goals and the needs of the business. No wonder their strategies and plans to move forward were fuzzy. Their lives and the business seemed to go forward and back in a reactionary and survival way. In reality, they were getting nowhere.
So, individuals unable to create the life they want for themselves are the same individuals trying to make a business work. Let’s get back to the original statement, “Why don’t groups act on what needs to be done?” Generally, many people don’t realize that they don’t. They think they act from the business but in reality they act for themselves. It’s invisible to them and it is contagious. Workplaces become a trap for this ‘individual’ orientation. This causes the business to become secondary, less of a priority, and it shows up in results.
Secondly, if individuals do act on behalf of what is good for the business they don’t always stop their reactionary world long enough to create a picture of what is required for it to thrive.
You might be thinking “That’s not the way it is around here. We are worked to death. We put in a lot of effort.” I am not talking about work or effort but rather taking actions that genuinely improve the business for now and in the future. The design of any business, the systems installed, and the decisions made, create its future success.
Thirdly, too often teams try some stuff, never finish it, always expecting something to be perfect and when it fails everything automatically goes back to the way it was. This produces risk-adverse people. Hope becomes the only strategy. (good luck with that)
Nothing is ever perfect. If it looks perfect, it’s probably not real. Usually what looks good is fake – for show . The truth is we either help clients in a big way or we don’t. We either tell a compelling, down to earth story to the market or we don’t. We are either engaged in improving the business or we are not. All of us can get into truth telling about the business for its own sake without harming our teams’ personal lives or without blaming and name calling. That’s just effective human relations. We can certainly create a picture of what the business needs to be. We need to fight the competition…not each other over our personal needs. As a team, we need to design the business to win and to take the necessary steps that change it so it will win. For all of us to get ahead, we need an ‘organization’ orientation and get engaged to produce better results.
Once you have decided to go a certain way then go there fast. If something gets in your way, turn. “If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough,” famous words from race car driver Mario Andretti. Being laid back is great for the cottage but for business we need to push our start button every day and just flat out go for it. It can be fun!
I believe we all have the guts, the where-with-all to do what is required and to act. With every action comes learning, and you will know what to do next for the business. It’s simple….. Act….Learn…. Act… we can do that.
Questions this week:
- Do I act from a personal orientation rather than a business one?
- What does the business require? What is it like now?
- What are the first actions to go from where we are now to where we want to go?
Kevin D. Crone
Dale Carnegie Business Group
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