Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, was once asked what his greatest challenges were while turning GE's success around. His reply was straight from the gut
—“people, people, and people.”
Jack had it right.
A common company litany is “our employees are our most valuable resource.” Yet, too often are the people issues in an organization overlooked in order to focus on business issues. This powerful statement has become a false motto, an overused cliché of rhetoric—one that rolls an employees eyes in disbelief. Yet these are not mutually exclusive. Optimizing the ability of your employees to perform, attracting top talent and investing in development ARE business issues and they lead to higher company performance.
Relationships ALWAYS drive business results. Successful leaders understand that people make the critical difference between success and failure—and they put action behind their words.
Focus on your employees and other stakeholders—factor them in. There is a direct correlation between business performance and people management, and its importance is all too often underestimated. Just ask your customers. Ineffective people management can be an uncomfortable detriment to your business and impact your customers’ experience.
How do you create happy organizations? An interesting HBR article lays out the pathway to create happy employees.
The first step is to clarify what we mean by “happy”. Psychologists typically identify happiness by three distinct pathways. The first is the pleasant life, which involves positive experiences including contentment, hope, and sensory enjoyment. This kind of well-being is often referred to as hedonia, based on the Greek term for pleasure. The second is the engaged life, oreudaimonia. The ancient Greeks believed in a “daimon”, or guardian spirit, that would guide you toward your destiny; the word also means genius. The engaged life thus refers to a person’s ability to deploy his personal genius — to use his unique strengths and talents in a way that engages and absorbs him. The third pathway is the meaningful life, which relates to the desire to be part of something bigger than oneself — to belong and contribute to an institution that has purpose.
All three of these pathways — pleasure, engagement, and meaning — are important. And business leaders can use this knowledge to ask some important questions about their organizations:
People should be a central element of each organization’s mission. It’s a simple philosophy really. The team with the best players wins.