When I meet entrepreneurs and small business leaders and tell them I help businesses develop people focused growth strategies, I see eyes light up and sometimes there’s even a little sigh of relief. These guys absolutely recognise the value of building their businesses in a way that holds their staff as one of the core competencies their business can offer.
Where’s the challenge
Most often it is in identifying, understanding and harnessing the human power for the benefit of business AND people. There is some misunderstanding that these cannot co-exist, or that you need humans with superpowers in order to have that. Not so.
Initial recruitment is of course important, but as your business grows, morphs and evolves, you won’t always know which skills you will need from your people in the future. More critically, you don’t actually even know what all your staff could do for you. And this is where some businesses get ‘clever’ by getting rid of 10 developers and hiring 5 experienced sales managers instead. It can work, sometimes, but it’s rather short-sighted and please don’t be mistaken to think that’s your only option.
I believe that people are capable of so much more than their degree or education or CV says they are. You know even today I have 4 different versions of a CV because with the 16 years of accumulated work experience and all the different things I am interested in, passionate about, and good at, I am not, and can never be, just one set of skills.
Where to start
What you can try immediately is to treat all your employees like a coach would treat their clients – in fact this is called ‘taking a coaching approach’! You treat them as creative, resourceful and whole. Nothing wrong with them, all the capabilities just waiting to be released. Capabilities, skills and energy you just haven’t tapped into yet.
What are their ambitions, not just for you but for their lives? What do their friends and family ask them help for? And what do they think about where the business is going anyway? Remember, this isn’t about making your developers sell (although that can be a very, very profitable idea!) but rather about being curious about all the human elements and capabilities that you have at your disposal. It is all input for your business planning.
You may think this is a soft approach, but it’s actually the basis of being able to request the most and the best out of all your employees, in line with your vision for your business.
Where is it all headed
Yesterday I had the privilege to attend a tweetup where Brian Solis was answering questions about his analysis of the impact of new media on future of business and culture. His latest book The End of Business As Usual is well worth a read, whether you are heading a very small or a very large organisation. It focuses on the change in consumer behaviour but also touches very powerfully on this subject of being in the business of being human.
Because in case you haven’t noticed, the younger generations are creating demand for a whole different way of doing business, and a whole different way of being a business.
Are you prepared?