Monday, August 13, 2012

How Do You Get the ‘Best’ Out of Someone?

I’m reminded of a very old Gatorade commercial with the words;
“It’s not where you’re from – it’s where you’re going,
It’s not what you drive – it’s what drives you,
It’s not what’s on you – it’s what’s in you,
It’s not what you think – it’s what you know.”

As businesses around the world continue to deal with the on-going global financial crisis, have business owners and managers forgotten the art of getting the best out of their people. Even in times of economic hardship work shouldn’t be a chore, but should actually be enjoyable, but it seems too many organisations are in such a ‘rush’ these days that they’ve forgotten to look after their most vital resource – their human resource.

Of course the first assumption is that organisations are making sure they recruit the right people for the right jobs, where they actually spend the required time assessing what each job function should be and the person they need to fill it (before they fill it) - something, that as crazy as it sounds, doesn’t get enough attention, where it’s assumed job specs are the same today as they were last year, which simply may not be true.

But once you place the right person in the job, it’s your responsibility to get the best out of them, making the job and their career development an enjoyable experience for them, where you not only utilise their skills to the full but develop that latent potential that’s just waiting to shine.

But as with many things in life – it’s easier to write or say the words than to implement them, which is where so many organisations go wrong.

What you need to get the best out of someone are the following;

1)     The right person in the right job;
2)     The right person in the right organisation, where the organisational culture and leadership allow the employee to ‘feel at home’ and develop without fear;
3)     The time to get to know them – what makes them ‘tick’, what drives them, how best to manage and communicate with them (an area that is too often forgotten and where the problems begin).
4)     Don’t assume that what drives you, drives everybody else;
5)     A culture which is open and honest, and where employees can have two way conversations with management about the organisation, their job and their future;
6)     Not expecting everyone to be the same and treating each individual as exactly that – an individual;
7)     Accept everyone has bad days;
8)     That “an idea can turn to dust or magic depending on the talent that rubs against it,” (Bill Bernbach); and
9)     “If you haven’t got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?” (Jeffrey Mayer).

There seems to be too much talk about doing the right thing in business but not enough action to make it happen – it appears to me that most leaders and managers can tell you the right things to do, but are just bad at implementing them. Maybe because they don’t have all the skills or confidence to make it happen or it’s the ‘time card’ where people don’t have enough time (to do the right thing) or most importantly a reluctance to ask for help - since as Stephen Covey said, “one of the few things that can’t be recycled is wasted time” and in my experience ‘we’ are wasting too much of it.

The outcome of all this is that organisations are not getting the best out of their employees, and in the process de-motivating them as well – where work becomes a chore, no longer enjoyable and simply a means to pay the bills.

Thus keeping your head down and just getting on with it can be the order of the day. But this should be a concern to leaders at any time, but especially during a time when organisations are looking for innovative ideas to improve organisational performance and where the best place to get them is often your own people. If you haven’t spent the time to create an organisational culture and leadership style that gets the best out of your people then you are simple losing out and regardless of your bottom-line are not optimising organisational performance.

So if you assume you made the right decision in recruiting the right people, then trust your judgement and now spend the time to create the environment where you can get the best out of them and they can get the best out of themselves – you (and your shareholders) will be very pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Remember “the biggest mistake you can make is continually fearing that you will make one.”

1 comment:

  1. For us, it has been fundamentally giving people decision making authority and control over their work.
    On a nuclear submarine we discovered that we were overtly and inadvertently taking control away from people. We identified those things are removed them. For example, instead of the captain giving orders, he stayed quiet and subordinates said "I intend to..." Instead of giving briefings where people show up and are told what to do, we had certifications where subordinates told what their jobs were.
    Result was a tidal wave of intellectual energy and passion.