Author: Zorina Dimitrova
Corporate business kind of mostly goes about growth: grow-grow-grow! But how are we going to get there? I’ve seen a lot of growth strategies that talk about Marketing Strategy, Sales Strategy, Finance Strategy, HR Strategy, all the balanced scorecard parts and all their sub-parts. But none takes into account the development of human capital. On the contrary, we plan for human resources, you’d say. Maybe you even go as far as planning for the skills your workforce needs to have developed. (And this is still not about the people.)
Yet, I am still to see strategy so exquisite as to take into account how to bring the organization from its current state to the future desired state in terms of culture, attitude (that is based upon mindset, emotional attachment – i.e. engagement) and motivation.
How do you translate the projected growth in terms of meaning to your employees? Honestly, speaking from an ex-employee perspective, creating shareholder value means nothing to me. It doesn’t personally touch me, whether I am creating shareholder value, or not: I have no personal relationship, or attachment to the shareholders (This is, unless I hold a significant for me portion of the company, and even then).
What I, as an employee want, is to see meaning in what I do, to be given the chance to make an impact and to be a part of a larger community.
So, when companies translate their growth strategies to their internal organizations, they should know how to tell their story of their vision of the future.
1. Give meaning to the Individual’s pursuits. What would growth through innovation, or expansion mean for the everyday work and life of the employee?
Growth, be it organic, or not, would most likely translate in more interesting work assignments and projects – translated to the employees through the stories of newness, curiosity, opportunity and the psychological state of seeking, which according to one of the executive coach I work with, Mr. Michael Amato is the most opening positive state of mind one can operate in.
Often, the motivation stems in some simple switch of perception. For example, when a person, who dislikes selling understands (perceives) that good selling is the same as providing value to the customer, the whole attitude – motivation – result axis changes.
2. Sense of belonging to a community/culture. Another important lever to move the organization to the future is through the sense of community.
Translate the change on a community level – what would growth/expansion mean for our employee community. Perhaps, we would need to change some processes to account for closer interaction among the various community groups or teams.
In most cases growth &/expansion entails change, which goes against human natural instincts, as we all know, so it requires psychological and sociological care when implementing change initiatives.
3. Common Goal/Vision. An easy way to step in the future is to create a sense of common vision that we are all “traveling” towards. The positioning of the vision should create the perception: “We are moving in a certain direction together, we are traveling. It’s not the environment that is changing and causing us stress, we are causing it to change.”
We’ve all heard of companies that have implemented well-being programs, it’s slowly becoming the next hype in HR. Some programs focus on career and success coaching – all topics, effortlessly accepted in a corporate environment. Others go a step further and offer meditations, mindfulness, Buddhist teachings, theta healing, intuition courses for executives. Yes, personal development is now a part of personnel development. It’s all great!
However, nothing should be done as part of a fad but rather as a consistent strategy and movement of the entire organization. Each initiative and program should align to the overall vision and the direction the company is taking.
Goals will be met and results delivered only when what we show to be on the outside matches who we are, and what we are capable of on the inside.