Tuesday 22 January 2013

Performance Leadership is vital to strategy execution - guest post by Paul Lange

This is a guest post by Paul Lange one of the accredited mentors of my Enhancing Their Gifts System™

Strategy is an undetailed plan of action to be implemented over a broadly defined period of time with the intention of achieving a defined (sometimes high-level) goal.  In other words, you want to move your business from A to B within X amount of time and decide you will achieve this through several high-level areas of activity.

But what about the people who will implement the strategy and perform the various activities, general and detailed, to help you achieve your goals? Where do they factor into the strategy equation? The answer is that in most businesses they don’t. The reason is because this has never been perceived nor taught as a part of business strategy, and arguably until the Enhancing Their Gifts System™, there was no framework to connect the business strategy and the chief executors of strategy, your employees.

Most, if not all, business strategy consulting focuses on the delivery of business improvement through strategic change, optimisation, and value innovation. The  key areas of focus are usually operations, leadership, growth and innovation, and finance and performance management. The people who you will need, to utilise their talents, skills and experience, to perform the work necessary, to deliver the improvement are generally bundled together with finance, a very analytical, black and white area of the business.

The traditional approach is that employees are seen as resources, similar to financial resources and computer systems, the performance of which must be measured and managed to maximise output and ROI. Their personal values, likes, dislikes and ambitions are discounted or ignored in the strategy picture, and such things are seen as extraneous to the pursuit and  achievement of the business goals and objectives. For the first time the Enhancing Their Gifts System™ enables business to give dedicated focus to talent and performance leadership as a part of strategic business growth.

Computer systems and financial resources are standardised and finite things with definable outputs on which to establish expectations and measure achievement.  They work best when they are deployed in the way that they are designed to produce maximum performance or results.  People however are unique creations, with infinite potential, each with their own personal and individual motivations, desires, aspirations and goals.

People give their best and maximum performance when they do things that will help them achieve whatever is highest on and most aligned with their values and therefore whatever is most important to them. This is as true in the workplace as it is in personal life.

Many systems talk about the need for employees to feel valued. That is a good starting point and there are many good techniques and activities that can be used to help achieve this.  There is a significant difference however between an employee feeling valued as the result of some external influence (motivation) and aligning their professional performance with what is highest on their values to create internal influence (inspiration).  The Enhancing Their Gifts System™ is the only system that I know of that makes this connection between employee business performance and the employees’ individual value system to achieve the best outcome for both the business and the person.

Business owners and leaders must come to accept that strategic change, optimisation, and value innovation is also needed in respect of the people who will execute their strategies. Performance management as an area of business strategy should  not be bundled with financial management. It should in fact be discarded entirely and businesses should establish in its place a new and separate area of talent and performance leadership.

Enhancing Their Gifts moves the focus from performance management, as a sidebar of the overall strategy program, to talent and performance leadership, as an integral and important part of deploying a strategy and achieving the goals defined by it.

In every organisation employees are key to how well the business strategy is executed. They are the technicians and the managers at the coalface daily. Whether in customer facing roles or back-of-house, the employees are the ones to execute tactically what you as the business owner or corporate leader decided upon strategically with your employees.  Motivation will take you as the leader only so far.  Money and other financial tools like stock options are no longer the only, and in some cases no longer the most important currency in the transaction between employer and employee to elicit best performance. Key is what leads to employees feeling valued.

Phil Libin, Chief Executive of Evernote was on the mark when he said “Happy workers make better products  ….  the output we care about has everything to do with your state of mind”.  Evernote is well known for its advocacy of work-life integration and the benefits achieved by the business valuing what is important to the employee.

If you wish to achieve the maximum output from your employees, it is no longer about giving them a job, a periodical pay-rise, possibly stock options, a mobile phone, company car, portable computing device, and a health plan if you operate your business in a country without a national health scheme. It’s about understanding what is important to the individuals and finding ways to align what they do for you with what they want to do themselves.

The process is not a tactical activity down the track of strategy implementation. It is also not something for which you establish measurement tools to determine the individuals performance based on what the business wants in order to determine what level of perk or pay-rise the employee will receive.  It starts with a decision in the boardroom that acknowledges the need for work-life integration and the need to lead your employees’ talent and performance for mutual benefit rather than simply trying to manage their performance which is a hangover from the industrial revolution and not fit for purpose in the 21st century.

Paul Lange can be contacted on +61 414 317 579.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.
Creator of the Enhancing Their Gifts System - the simple framework that profoundly unleashes employee talent.
Easy to implement.
People focused.
ROI tangible, not just talk.

Experience the system first hand here.

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