“Our greatest assets are our people.” Big Yawn! Excuse me whilst I fall asleep!
How many times have you heard that statement? We know it, you know it, everyone knows it, but to what extent are you really, really demonstrating that belief?
Let me put it this way, if your greatest assets are really, truly your people, where do they sit on the P&L? Are they there as a line item alongside your factories, capital and cash balance? What metrics do you have to measure ‘your greatest assets’ performance? R.O.I.? N.P.V.? Do you measure it frequently or just through your mid and year-end reviews, exactly like every other ordinary organisation, who, by the way, also reassure themselves that they are truly people-focused? Is this statement merely a crock of proverbial or do you really mean it?
If it is a crock, then read no further. No hard feelings, at least you have honesty which is a noble quality and often undervalued.
If you do really mean it, then read on, and if you’re not sure, then I hope this article will help you fall one way or the other off that big fence that you are sitting on.
How many of your people are working at their absolute full potential? And for that matter, are you able to discern whether they are or not? How do you actually know? Do you just hope they are somewhere near it? How often are you completely blown away by the display of talent, initiative, confidence and energy contained within the organisation?
The following exercise won’t necessarily appeal to those of you with dominant Cool Blue energy as it is slightly ‘back of a fag packet’, but I’m sure you will understand the point we are making.
Please consider someone in your organization who you think has high potential.
- Approximate cost of employing the individual.
- Approximate value to the organization their role should generate.
- % of potential the individual person is utilizing: if you have estimated higher than 80% then we want to talk to you for benchmarking purposes!
- Cost to the organization of untapped potential.
Doesn’t seem like a lot? Now multiply it by the number of people in the organisation!
Most companies invest in training and development in the well-intentioned belief that ‘it makes a difference’, and it’s true, it does! But! Do you finish what you start and keep your tools sharp by maximizing the return on your investment? Consider the possibility of asking each and every person in your organisation to judge whether the opening statement of this article is true and if it isn’t, what it would take to make it so?
Personal development is a journey and a workshop to introduce the Discovery colour model and profiles represents a solid start to that journey. Team and individual development opportunities are often identified through workshops and the timing is then perfect in terms of continuing the journey of personal or team development by providing coaching.
Unless you are utterly confident that the managers in your organisation have the skills and inclination to coach others to their full potential, you are kidding yourself if you think that you don’t need to bring in the experts to make a difference.
Let’s put it this way, would you risk putting your systems development into the hands of someone who had little interest in and a complete lack of knowledge of systems?
Coaching is a very definitely a skill. The ability to keep your own ego to one side in order to be 100%-focused on the performance of another individual is a challenge! Great coaching requires a blend of support, challenge, accountability, exceptional questioning and listening skills, as well as an ability to mine for the truth as if life depended upon it. The results can be staggering and can quite literally save/make the organisation a fortune.
Let me tell you about a recent case in point: Tom had been promoted to manage one of the most important but trickiest contracts in the business. The contract was mid re-negotiation and hanging in the balance, with a stalemate situation preventing the last remaining clauses being agreed upon. The contract had huge value for the company, financial and otherwise. It would have been easy to assume that the issue was due to contractual details but through the coaching we identified that the critical issue lay in the disintegration of the relationship between two key players – one within the client organization and one within the supplier (our client). Through two coaching sessions, we worked through what needed to happen in order for the situation to have a successful outcome. As a result, Tom was able to cut through the politics, see the issues with crystal-clear clarity and from that place influence his colleagues (most of whom were his superiors) as to the necessary course of action. The meeting two weeks later saw the successful re-signing of the contract.
Of course, we will never know if the outcome of the meeting would have been successful without the coaching, but what we do know is that the shift in Tom’s perspective, approach, energy, passion and focus allowed him to believe he could make the difference – and he did.
Now that was indeed a profitable exercise in managing untapped potential.