The Difference is People

Great leaders have repeated this adage over the years. Why does one organization succeed while the other fails? They both look like they are created equally, have similar capitalization or resources, both have good ideas, and opportunity seems available to both. Why are the best practices used by one failing the other? It narrows down to the people.

Strong engaging leaders attract strong engaged employees and colleagues. All organizations need well thought out structure, they need clear processes, they need discipline. That never changes. When combined with vision and tenacity, great things can happen. And, it does when a team of committed employees is assembled to deliver on the plan.

Be clear with expectations. Focus on the desired outcomes. Be the change you want to be. It creates the right environment for achievable success.

Managers often wonder why all people aren’t created equally. Why can one person work so well in a situation while another, with virtually identical credentials, fails so miserably? It is about each individual – not about the role, nor the support systems, nor about an individual’s experiences and skills. Notwithstanding the need to find folks with the necessary competency and enough practical experience to understand your situations, building your team is about drive, desire, character, and then team dynamics. Great leaders, at all levels, understand their successes comes from enabling their colleagues. Everything works better when colleagues trust and respect each other. Working together is not about equality, but rather the sense of equity within your team. Every employee is motivated by something different and that evolves as their lives evolve. There is never enough time to query each to find out what each thinks is important. But that does not mean that efforts to understand their motivation are wasted. The clues will be fairly obvious. People want to belong and be treated fairly. It is about acceptance and to some extent, comradery. To gain trust of others, you need to trust. For you to gain acceptance, you must accept. To gain respect, you must be respected. Be true to good values and make sure they are understood. Leaders become known by their actions. Colleagues should be able understand their leaders and individual qualities. Teams of people typically will adjust their behaviors, almost automatically, to create a real team, enabling the success of their colleagues. Great teams partner well with other great teams. Great teams working together deliver results that can lift organizations, governments, and businesses.

You need those structures, processes and disciplines. You need a clear vision and the ability to stick to your plan and strategy. You should allow your people to be the best that they can be. That happens best when they are given clear, achievable outcomes. It happens with understanding and respectfully dealing with each other. It happens quite simply by helping your people see what is in it for them.

You should make it happen.

Russ Tynan
Principal, Head of Practice – Not-for-Profit & Social Enterprise

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