Leadership. A single word that carries many different beliefs. It’s intimidating for some and a journey for others. Another word that comes to mind is success. Next time you have a meeting, ask each person what success means to them. See how many different answers you receive. It’s no wonder companies zig zag on issues. A strong leader will define success and share the vision with a common goal, define roles and responsibilities, and communicate with the teams.
In baseball it goes like this. The common goal is winning the World Series. Each player clearly understands their role on the team. Pitchers don’t practice hitting, they practice pitching. Spring training is about getting the communication and chemistry right.
When we look at companies and sports teams that are remembered as Legendary Teams, you will find one common characteristic among them, performance. The companies with the best people have the power to attract loyal customers and top employees. In some cases, people are your product. In the business of sports, people are why 50,000 people show up to watch a game of baseball. It’s the people, the players, the talent, their performance.
Results are outcomes, focus on performance
Great results are outcomes of great practice and preparation. Shareholder returns, a great customer experience, and the candidate experience are all outcomes. If you want better outcomes, focus on the internal strategies that drive results, people and performance. You’ve heard leaders say “People are our most important asset.” So why do businesses spend billions of dollars each year advertising to drive shareholder returns, customer experiences? It’s because most will focus on the results and not the internal strategies that create them.
All businesses have 3 customers – Shareholders, Teams, and Consumers
I believe the employee customer (team) is the single most important customer to understand. This is why attracting the top people is so important to your business. When companies get this right, they get it all. In other words, if you have the right employees and they are reaching their potential; the consumers are getting the experience they desire. This leads consumers to enjoy your company and tell their friends about your wonderful company.
When companies get aligned from the inside out, the owners get the best possible returns. How well do you think leaders understand their people? I bet you would agree that leaders can get caught up in chasing results, shareholder returns. If people are the company’s most important asset, this should be a focus. Results are outcomes. Just like sports teams. It’s all about the teams, that’s how they win games. The employees should be your most important customer and if you invest in them, you will improve your consumer experience and drive financial results to your shareholders. Everyone wins. The employee, shareholders and consumers.
Top talent is a result, not an acquisition
Getting top talent is not about acquisition or the pursuit of top people. It’s about becoming a great leader yourself and making your team better. Top talent is something you attract by the company you become. As a result, your company wins and people will want to be a part of that. The best people have choices. When they understand what you are about, how you lead and where you are going; you will have the best people available to you.
Get clear about the people you need. Think about what people like that would want in a company or leader, and become that. Simple as that. Top talent is an outcome of who you become as a business unit, team or company. When you become more, you are now attractive to the people you desire.
Focus on experience with team development
Baseball teams provide experience based learning in controlled environments. It’s okay to fail. In fact, it advances success when we do. We call it the minor leagues in pro baseball. And like the Yankees, we like 2,000 plate appearances before you reach the big leagues. If you ask Malcolm Gladwell, he says 10,000 hours. Either way, they take development very seriously. In the minor leagues, player development is important and winning comes second. Confidence comes after competence. We get competent by taking risk and learning through experience. As a result, we get confident.
Now that we understand that results are outcomes of great performance, shifting to a performance focus will allow us to create better results. As Ken Blanchard said, “You can’t hit the ball with your eye on the scoreboard.” When our teams are reaching their potential, we become a better company and more attractive to outside talent.