Have you ever walked into a business and it seems all the employees are just putting in their time? They look at potential customers as a distraction to the work they have to do that day? If the business has multiple locations, you wonder why some of their locations are down in the dumps and others are creating incredible customer experiences. I thought it might be helpful to share several key ideas to help you build a motivated workforce. Because your business can only grow if everyone is committed to growing it. One of the biggest challenges a high growth business faces is creating a culture of high performance.
Let’s talk about five things I’ve learned that help create a high performance culture. If you can move your people through these challenges, you’re on your way to transforming the way your business grows, increasing both value and visibility so you can be sell it.
The first rule for building a high growth business is to remember people need structure. If you give your people too much freedom it’s no longer freedom but chaos. Most individuals prefer order in their working roles. They want to know what’s expected of them. Good structure should provide ample flexibility for your team. Let your people closest to the customer know they have discretion when solving the customers challenges.
The second rule is that people want to feel they are being heard. If you ask for input from employees you should be willing to share what you did with their input. For many years in American business, owners would ask for ideas and suggestions and then not do anything with the information. If they did something with the information, they would spend little time sharing the source of the original idea. If there was a problem, they would ask for help and then not doing anything about it. Both actions were equally destructive for employee morale.
The third rule is people want to feel connected to something bigger than themselves. I can tell how big an organization will grow based on one simple test. If I ask your employees about your mission, vision, and values and they can’t share them with me, I’m certain that the business is destined for long term failure. We spend over 30% of our lives working. With that much time invested, we want to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves. Organizations with strong cultures flourish and those without almost always fail over time.
The fourth rule is people want to know they are improving the conditions in their communities. If your business is just about making money, you will have a hard time growing beyond a certain point. Every industry is different but without a connection to the greater community, your organization will fail over time. Successful organizations not only provide a great place to work but give back to their employees and communities. As the economy continues to change, your ability to attract people to your mission will be critical to your business’s continued growth.
The fifth rule is people want to feel what they do is important to others. As much as successful organizations build a high performing culture for their team members, people still want to know they make a significant contribution as an individual, as well. I find that successful organizations understand the unique gifts of individual performers. Take time every day to acknowledge individual contributions and watch how much better your teams perform.
I’ll add a bonus rule here that’s the foundational element for the other five. People want to know you care about them. It is popular to say Generation X and Y want to know that their bosses care about them. The truth is every person wants to feel that their boss cares about them. Some generations were willing to work for people who didn’t but in almost all cases they never truly gave themselves to their organizations.
If you want to build a great organization that continues growing over the generations, make sure you invest time in understanding the people who work with you. Surveys and business results continue to show when an employee feels cared for they create incredible results in the workplace. As a manager, if you care for your team, your team will care for you. This allows you to create an extraordinary business with staying power.