There is a disturbing culture towards success that seems to be accelerating.
It was not long ago that the majority of success was lauded and looked at with inspiration and a certain level of respect and awe.
Now, more than ever before, success is met with negativity, suspicion, and jealousy.
We have tolerated a global mindset of success not being fair. Instead of allowing legitimate success of hard working people and organizations to inspire us, our world has become a crab colony culture – not willing for another to get to the top of the crate but would rather bring that lone crab down into the masses below.
Instead of celebrating true success, lies are generated and propogated, reputations are permananetly damaged, and other’s accomplishments and work are marginalized.
Why? Because others are not willing to raise their game. They want the easy way out, even willing to compromise their own standards to bring another down and edify themselves. Success points out the shortcomings of those that will not do what it takes, and those achievements hold others accountable for their unwillingness to work harder.
Those that accomplish a great goal are many times reduced to an aberration. And those that have attained sustained success over a period of many years usually find themselves the target of unjust scrutiny that something foul must be at the root of their achievements.
Does this truly happen, you say?
- Consider those school, collegiate, and professional sports leagues that restructure rules to penalize successful teams and programs to level the playing field and achieve parity.
- There are businesses, unions, and lobbyists who want regulation to strangle successful companies who succeed legitimately.
- Big megachurches that water down the truth to generate large crowds and scrutinize more faithful assemblies that don’t compromise their message.
- Many national and local government officials that follow the law but are excoriated for not crossing the aisle
I myself have been targeted for having a successful team and met with animosity for “showing others up”.
We need to have a reminder of what true success is: hard work, achieving goals, staying true to your values, being uncompromising when pressure is on, and giving people hope in something better. It’s not easy, requires sacrifice, and is the grand design of everyone; not guaranteed, but available for those who will not make excuses and run towards it. It’s a vision that propels and inspires others that they too can achieve those same dreams and benefits in a constructive manner.
We need to hearken back to a respect and strive towards a more positive attitude towards success. If not, we’ll fall more prone to tearing down others rather than celebrating their honest hard work. Just because some people are successful does not mean that there is anything going on.
Sometimes greatness just is …
Companies always have a list of goals they plan to achieve during a given time frame. Leaders do as well, dovetailing their personal and professional goals into those of the organization.
Having these goals overlap may seem like a company is on it’s way to success, but have they met all the true needs within their ranks?
Has your organization identified and addressed the needs and goals of your employees?
A casual survey of the workforce shows increasingly higher numbers of employee needs not being met through their companies, and many of these surveys, whether from polling, HR studies, or research in the industry, show the same common themes that are missing from identifying the goals your employees may have.
In order to help identify the needs within your company, here are some top trends across all industries that may exist with a brief explanation for initially addressing them:
Hearing directly from everyone senior leadership. Employees love to hear from their leadership team – all of them. Silent leaders come across as out of touch, ineffective, or disengaged. This leads to assumptions of hypocrisy and aloofness among the leadership team. Every leader should be expected to have full interaction with their people and be accessible during meetings, email updates, and even random calls and visits to inform the staff that they are truly committed to their employees success.
Speaking in easy to understand language. Every industry can fall into trade jargon and if you’re not careful you can lose touch with staff that really don;t know their industry as well as the leadership team does. Take the time to pare every interaction with simple to understand terms, and if necessary, teach people the terms they need to build their comprehension and industry knowledge.
Having ample resources available. Many surveys reveal that employees ask for and need more training. However a deeper look can reveal that even good training programs lack the needed resources for employees to build their skills and competency. Consider how your people can obtain reinforced training, ongoing education in their industry, and even implementing changes in their work process that hinder their growth and ability to get the job done. By making additional support resources available you will strengthen your team’s ability to meet everyone’s goals.
Creating a trusting workplace culture. Do your people CC on emails to bring big brother in and watch over? Is their micromanaging going on, even in a veiled “trust-and-verify” mindset? Every company needs to find that careful balance between checks-and-balances and autonomy. Reporting impropriety notwithstanding, having a “rat out” culture means that your workplace has become every person for themselves. Build a mutual support organization where training, edification, and positive correction are the norm, transparency of motives exists, and escalation is spelled out only in specific and rare circumstances.
Knowing Why. The “just-do-what-you’re-told” thinking of leadership generations past is gone. Giving your people a good reason on why your culture exists, your brand stands out, and your systems are in place will help them understand how they should approach their jobs daily. In addition, don’t assume that they won’t understand some of the complexities in the industry; many times going deeper than you think they can understand will expand their vision and lead to better growth and engagement in the goals ahead.
Connection. Not just hearing from leadership, but having leadership make meaningful connections with their people. Employees like never before want to know that their company knows who they are, their goals, and appreciates their talents and contribution. They also want unwavering support and a feeling that they are trusted among their leaders. Leaders that make their employees innate desires for connection from their organization bridge a too-common gap in their company and further define a differentiation in teir culture.
Meeting these and other common needs takes focus, understanding, and thinking outside of self and company to be able to fold in these important aspects of employee engagement. Starting with these basic needs will get you on course and help you further identify specific needs from your teams in your organization.
Years ago when I was an area manager of a regional chain, my regional director and I were talking about staffing strategies. He said something that I disagreed with at first, but came to know the wisdom of in the years that followed.
His advice to me was:
Always be in hiring mode. You’ll never know which person comes across that will build your brand better.
Initially I bucked against that advice. Why, I asked myself, should I continue to hire when I need to invest my time into the people I already have?
Then over time I realized the rationale for why companies should always recruit even when their staffing levels are full:
- Talent will never slip through your fingers. Like the fisherman who let the big one get away because they went out when the fish were not biting, talent that is not caught will go into another company’s pool. Being able to constantly recruit will help you identify and land the talent needed instead of waiting for the right time for talent to bite.
- It creates healthy competition internally. This was my biggest objection to this approach. As long as you invest in your people, and are above board with them to let them know that you are always looking for complementary talent, people will be engaged with the efforts to look out for a great colleague. And in those instances when people aren’t fully engaged, you will create a healthy culture that everyone knows to not be complacent. It requires the correct leadership mindset to do this, but when done right it transforms your culture into a productive and supportive one.
- Your hiring skills stay sharp. By keeping your organizational mindset in recruiting mode, you’ll be more keenly aware of talent when it appears. You’ll also develop better questions to ask instead of going over the same old ones again and again. In addition, you’ll be able to tailor your search to the current needs to the team instead of reacting to a past problem.
- You’ll build a future talent pool. If you found a talented person but just can’t justify bringing them on board right now, you’ll develop a bench of people that you can easily recruit. Having conversation with them to let them you will indeed be contacting them when the circumstances are there will allow them to be ready to jump aboard when it’s time. Without a depth of talent in the waiting, you’ll be further behind the hiring process when you do need them.
- It allows you to hire on a dime from pre-qualified talent. This last point sums up the previous two. Many times companies hire after the need is identified, which is usually past the best time to hire and meet that need. Compound that reaction time to the typical hiring process, and it may be at least 4-6 months before a key person is on board. In today’s business climate, that’s too late. Constant recruiting involves ongoing dialogue with candidates and being able to get certain aspects done ahead of time: interview questions, background checks, references, etc. The company that can hire immediately today has huge advantages over those that lag behind in their process. Having this recruiting mentality every day greatly helps you to be in position at any given moment.
Be in recruiting mode all the time. Keep you eyes, ears, and social media open for great talent that you’ll need. It’s an advantage you’ll be glad you have.