Everybody talks about results in business; it’s what we’re all about. But, what kind of results are we talking about?
What do great results look like today?
Enhancing Capital: Financial and Social
First, let’s start with the obvious: financial results.
Return on investment is the name of the game. Investors, analysts, board members, employees: they all expect to be compensated for their investment of money and/or time. But simply delivering top quartile financial ROI, while necessary, is no longer sufficient.
In addition to enhancing financial capital, great companies (great organizational systems) are also enhancing their “social capital.” What is social capital? Larry Prusak, perhaps the father of “knowledge management,” says that social capital is, “the stock of active connections among people: the trust, mutual understanding, and shared values and behaviors that bind the members of human networks and communities and make cooperative action possible.”
Why is it important for organizations to enhance their social capital? Because success in today’s economy depends on people. Because knowledge work (people making smart decisions and carrying them out in coordination with other smart decision makers) demands trust, understanding, shared values and behaviors. The so-called, “soft stuff”; the stuff that is so hard for most organizations to achieve.
Social capital is an organizational characteristic, the sum total of the system’s overall capacity for quickly evaluating situations, appraising its resources, generating solutions, and implementing them effectively. Performance like this takes outstanding communication, coordination and action.
Social capital is what makes excellent performance possible.
Growing social capital means making tangible investments in improving the capabilities of the individuals, networks and communities that make up your organizational system. Improve connections, enhance social capital.
Talent: Finding and Keeping Great People
Secondly, achieving great results depends upon finding, inspiring and keeping the best people.
Who hasn’t felt the impact of today’s fierce competition for the best people? At TrueTalk, we believe the answer to finding and keeping great people is pretty simple: great management.
While much of the “talent talk” focuses on technical talent, management talent is even more critical for delivering results. In a recent McKinsey & Co. study, 58% of senior and mid-managers described their boss as an “underperformer”; 86% of those managers said that this, “made me want to leave the company.” Clearly, keeping great people means leading them well.
How do underperforming managers damage their companies?
We believe there are two important things they typically don’t do well:
What do the best people look like? Creativity expert Teresa Amabile of the Harvard Business School puts it simply: they have more expertise, they do things differently, and they are more passionate about their work.
What does the right kind of environment look like? Again, Amabile has clear answers: it encourages creativity by challenging talented people, giving them the freedom to explore their ideas, and providing them adequate resources (including time).
So, only some results show up in “the numbers.” Equally important are the results in the organization’s social systems.
Ask yourself: how are we are doing at creating environments that enhance social capital and make our company an exciting place for the best talent?
If you’re not satisfied with how you’re doing in these areas, TrueTalk can help.Permanent link