For Best Results…Mar 16, 2023
There are so many ways that effective top down leadership can reduce and even eliminate the profitability killers in our businesses, and we’ll start unpacking some simple strategies for dealing several of the highest risk areas soon, but one way we can ensure we achieve the best possible results across our entire organization is by taking steps to make sure the influence we earn with our teams personally doesn’t stop with us; we need to be very intentional about developing our leaders at every level! To put in sports terms, we need to build a strong bench!
Even the best companies experience some level of turnover; that’s a part of life. If we’ve worked to build great leaders at the highest levels of our organizations, there’s little doubt that we’re seeing it show up on the profit and loss statement. But if we haven’t been just as dedicated to developing leaders in every other part of the business (and notice I didn’t just say level of the business), I’m fairly sure we aren’t doing as well with recruitment and retention as we’re capable of nor are we earning the kind of engagement that produces best-in-class results. If those two things were all we needed to be concerned about by not having effective leaders throughout our organizations - that strong bench, if you will - I would think it would still deserve our attention. However, that’s definitely not where the issues stop!
Without that strong bench, we can also expect significant dips in performance any time one of our top leaders moves on, be that from retirement, another company, or whatever. If we’re not incredibly strategic about developing our next tier of leaders so they’re prepared to fill gaps as they occur, any given profitability killer can creep back in.
Even this though doesn’t automatically ensure we’ll be able to capture all the profit that’s typically left on the table! Just like leadership isn’t synonymous with management, we can’t focus solely on providing our supervisor and management with access to leadership development resources and expect peak performance. For best results, we’d do well to provide that same kind of development to every team member who’s shown they have influence with the people around them so their message can be in line with our mission and vision. Whether it’s as a trainer, an informal department lead, a working superintendent, or just a respected peer, their positive leadership skills will impact the performance of others around them!
There’s one trap we’ll need to avoid when we do this though… We need to fight the urge to automatically push them into formal supervisory and management roles just because they’re the best at what they’re currently doing and they’re respected by the people around them. All too often, we advocate that as the natural progression and we end up losing some of the best players on our bench - from the role they love and sometimes from the entire organization. I’m certainly not suggesting that we keep those folks from advancing, just that it should be something they want to do rather than something we’ve pressured them to do. When we’ve created a top down leadership model that’s duplicated across departments and at every level, our chances of eliminating any of (or maybe even all) our profitability killers increase exponentially!
With that in mind, let’s get to work on dealing with them one by one! Stay tuned!