Team dynamics

The business alignment that drives profit-focussed culture into companies

Do you know of, or has your company, become a business that has entered into a cost-cutting culture to survive and impress shareholders? This cost-cutting culture manifestation is an alarming trend. Its beyond the health of cost-awareness – that’s something that every business needs in its skills base and is important. However, cost-cutting, is the quintessential graveyard for companies. This is where the following vitals come to die:  innovation that drives new market positioning, additional market penetration, company sustainability, workforce engagement, lateral leadership thinking, and profitability.

Whats the spark in your company?

The modern economic playing fields are being successfully inhabited by companies driving a razor- sharp edge in technology, innovation, engagement and ground-breaking product and service delivery. They possess predator vision, lethal strategy and ignited execution of that strategy with highly engaged staff. Their honed processes which deliver their strategies cease to amaze.

Yet there are other companies insistent on sticking to their status-quo (being so archaic that they even lose the status part). Sure, cost-cutting drives a sense of profitability in the short-term, there is no denying that. However, companies stuck in observing the “now”, and who aren’t aware of what is happening across the horizon, head down the road of cost-cutting as a means of survival.

The reality is that visionary businesses are instead looking way beyond the next income statement and lists of costs to cut. They behave like our wildlife migrations here in Africa. They know that long-term survival is about heading to where the rains are, not drinking less water where the rains are not.

So how do leaders head their companies to where the rains are? They embrace innovation and alignment. This is the discipline of creating a profit-focussed culture in your company that meets the demands of a great strategy.

Companies who need more bottom-line profit, need more sales. Sales with higher margin. Not just the same-old-same-old sales….but driving new sales, new ways of getting to market, new products, and new service levels. Sales people who have any value to your organisation are the ones that drive this process relentlessly, backed up by a marketing effort that makes your company and its offerings like honey to bees. Marketing, in turn, is backed up by the operations units who systematically drive exceptional quality and delivery turnaround that sets a standard for competitors to chase. They literally impose the brand value.

Behind all this, it is fundamental to nurture, and acknowledge the value of those staff who are relentlessly dedicated to the company; those staff who have hungered to be with you, even when times were tough and organisational happiness may have been in short supply.

In a nutshell, an aligned profit-focussed culture business looks like this:

  • Leaders with an organisational vision that is articulated, common-to-the-group, and achievable.
  • An embedded, communicated, and aligned strategy that supports the vision.
  • A trained, skilled and tooled workforce backed up by seamless processes and “success-no-matter-what” dynamics
  • Leaders who hold their dedicated staff close, but hold their slackers to account. Without exception.
  • Leaders who provide dedicated staff a freedom. Freedom that stimulates innovative ideas to drive sales, efficiencies and mind-blowing great service. And the slackers get freedom as well. For them it is called “The Exit”.

Creating an aligned culture with a predatory eye on profit is actually really good fun to be immersed in. It frees leadership and management of the pain of nay-sayers and slackers; provides the company with the healthy focussed nucleus of a self-motivated, self-believing, achieving team who by their nature will take the company to where the rains are. Where the grazing is good, and where the culture looks out for the organisation and its people’s wellbeing.

The amazing end result is that this alignment in your culture drives the capability to sell your products or services at higher margins. Now, isn’t that a good way off from the alternative of crocodiles lurking in the danger waters of cost-cutting?

How clear is your company’s vision? Has it been properly adjusted, focussed and backed up with impressive strategy?

Contact us if you would like to know more about organisational vision and how business alignment can assist your company to better profitability.

Business alignment

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In under one hour we’ll provide insights that your company will find extremely valuable.

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How prepared are companies for the reality of employee performance breakdown during personal trauma?

There is a drive in modern business management to implement soft skills in an attempt to retain employee attention, maintain output levels and performance, and drive productivity outcomes. These are just some of the mechanisms that a forward-thinking company uses to ensure that they have open communication channels and stronger employee and management team engagement.

Now my question is, “What happens when an employee is faced with a personal trauma that envelopes their entire head-space rendering them unwittingly disengaged from their work?”. Is the company ready for this eventuality? 

Does your company find itself disengaging from such individuals, purely because the pressures of operational and financial performance drive this reaction?

Such disengagement undermines all potential to retain talent and create highly effective workforces and management teams.

These are questions demanding answers, insight and people leadership skills that many managers are not equipped to deal with.  Management of companies seek performance levels commensurate with the remuneration of the employee and are under pressure to deliver returns higher up the stakeholder channel.

There are three factors to consider here, that companies often choose to dismiss at their peril:

1.  How creatively prepared are managers and executives to navigate these waters with a colleague coping with personal trauma? What are the long-term effects for both parties of either positive or negative outcomes in this scenario?

2. How far can the company and its management be extended and what are the business and talent risk profiles of the situation?, and simultaneously,

3. How capable is the employee in being creatively part of a process that can be filled with fear, but that will ultimately guide them out of dark personal days?

My own story arose three years ago, when I found myself in the midst of a divorce that I neither wanted nor expected. It tore me to pieces, and induced an extreme downturn in my own creativity, leadership ability and productivity at a time when I was really needed to be a visionary leader at the peak of my game.

Having had this personal insight and hindsight, I wondered how many other companies are faced daily with trauma induced nosedives in productivity and performance expectations of executives and managers. How are companies and its talented resources prepared to cope with these realities of life that come along without warning and pose business risk and personal risk profiles that are daunting?

To create an analogy, let me state the case as follows:
Companies are required by law to provide fire-fighting equipment in factories and offices to deal with real fires. Evacuation drills are put into place so that in the event that a fire breaks out, the staff has a planned practiced exit strategy. What now if we liken such a fire to the wipe-out of the leadership capacity and performance levels of an executive member facing personal trauma? Has your company creatively developed and implemented a strategic “fire-extinguisher” to douse the flames of this kind of fall-out?

A forward thinking company and executive team plans for reality. This is a reality. The management of talent is truly about the management of people. The short-term guidance and strategic steadfastness of a company and its management alongside an embattled talented colleague has exponential benefits in terms of medium-term and long-term buy in by that individual to the company vision. Planning for reality is intricately linked to talent management. How pro-active is your company in the management of its talented resources?

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Talent management in recessionary times

Currently our world economy is taking our organisations into areas of stress and the need for change at a speed unseen in the major part of the past century. The stresses that I speak of are the pressing requirement for companies and leaders to urgently and radically see things differently, to do things differently, and achieve a different outcome. The requirement to deal with change has moved from one of coping to one where change has become a strategic given in order to get through this recessionary time. Failure to embrace change with open and visionary eyes, and see it as the lifeline to a future, is not only dangerous but foolhardy. So the question is “Where is the determined change to be applied?”

Here are some areas that historically businesses could have applied change to: innovation in technology, enhanced marketing practices to penetrate deeper into markets and to open new ones, and re-engineered process design. These are all well and good to direct investment into, but I would be likely to say that the human element would have been neglected and if that is the case, the investment returns are precariously balanced in the long term. Using the construction of a house as a diagrammatic illustration of my point, I consider the roof to represent the security from bad weather, the walls to represent the disciplines of marketing, innovation, finance, quality control, operations (as a few), the plinth to represent the pool of human capital within an organisation, and the steel reinforced foundations to be the vision, values and the concomitant strategies of the leadership of the organisation.

In the current economic maelstrom the roof has been blown off and the security that organisations enjoyed historically has flown the coop. The loss of this security threatens the stability, integrity and solidity of market share, threatens funding to innovate and will continue to create instability in many disciplines within companies. The security that came from the roof above, now has to be replaced with a security from below, that is, from the human capital. This wealth and body of skills, knowledge, experience and capacity to be creative in tough times has to be the area of keenly applied interest and investment that leaders must allocate to so that they may see light of day.

Again, I ask a question of the scenario: “Who is the human capital (the talent) that primarily needs to be optimised?” Your executive leadership base right now is your edge, complemented by the middle management tiers, and ultimately reinforced by the skills of the workforce and their disposition to creatively apply those skills to higher performance levels.

The retention of talent, sharing of knowledge, diversification of skills and risk mitigation of the migration of human capital will ultimately be the tangible outcomes arising through well applied talent management. In order that talent management is applied effectively the defining, refining and redeployment of the talent pool needs to be undertaken at every level in the organisation – from executive level, to divisional level, to departmental level…..all the while, this defining, refining, and redeployment being overseen by leaders at each level who themselves are being groomed for the future that is already upon us. This grooming process encompasses all the communication aspects that management is exposed to, but in order for this process to be effective, these to-and-fro communications up and down the channels and across them have to meet at a point called “connection”.  

With connection, all aspects of communication sink deeply into individuals and teams and their ability to perform at distinctly higher levels because they become equipped with understanding. The way in which we at Polarity Consulting see this connectivity being achieved is via the profiling and determination of environmental constants and variables that we offer our clients during the talent management process, and guiding them through changes. The objective is to remove disconnection and institute the connectivity that makes teams dynamic and successful.  

This connectivity unlocks creative potential to bring forth solution minded behavior and a freedom of expression of ideas that frees up senior leadership to take care of the strategic concerns of the organisation.

Contact us to do an insightful talk to your company about these ideas.




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