Friday 4 April 2014

Focusing on results is guaranteeing poor performance

Return on investment (ROI) is being is discussed in the executive suites of organisations more than ever before.  And every day it seems CEO’s of major companies receive their marching orders because ROI failed to meet expectations of the board and shareholders.

ROI is an outcome, a result, an end. Focusing on results is guaranteeing poor performance.

A few years ago I was privileged to hear Kevin Roberts, the world-wide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, and one of my heroes in terms of a real leader, speak about ROI.  Kevin spoke about return on involvement!

How involved are your employees in where you’re going?
What kind of investment are you making in your employees?

To get a return you must first make an investment.  And investing your time, energy, and money in your employees is the greatest investment you need to make.

I once emceed a function where the famous baker Tom O’Toole was the speaker.  During the Q & A Tom was asked “What if I make all this investment in people and they leave?”  Tom replied: What if you don’t and they stay!”

I define leadership as the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are (that one-of-a-kind each of us is) to everything they do.  Such inspiration influences people.

Inspiration and influence really matter because they lead to involvement.

Warning: Leadership usually fails without management which I define as the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

Leadership is about inspiration and influence.  Management is about systems and processes.  Both are an essential investment you must make.

Long before the end, there is always a beginning and a middle.

I hear politicians and business leaders talk all the time about the end results as though they matter above all else.  They don’t.  What really matters is the journey we take together that leads to win/win/win/win/win i.e. a win for individuals, families, communities as much as organisations and countries.

If you want to achieve possibility in your life and work focus on the journey and involving all your stakeholders, particularly your employees.  Return on investment will take care of itself assuming your diligence, care, financial wisdom and ability and willingness to be aiming for long term sustainability rather than quick fixes to satisfy the few people like shareholders, who are, rightly, at the end of the food chain.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

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