Monday, May 19, 2014

Making Employees Run by Choice

If you ask the average employee to state the vision, mission statement or quality policy of their organization, you will be surprised at the percentage of those who can’t recite it. Some employees have even never bothered to read it. In some organizations it is even placed on notice boards but yet just ignored consistently. Are you then surprised that they are not working with a sense of urgency or purpose? You must ensure that at every forum you state the vision and mission statement of your organization until everyone internalize it. It is also possible that some employees cannot run with the company's vision and mission because it is not 'plain' enough. According to Albert Einstein, if you cannot explain your vision to a 6 years old, you don't understand it either. Once a vision/mission is going into lines of sentences, then it will be difficult to recite or memorize Think about the vision of company's such as Nike - Just do it! If you wake up an employee, he can tell you even in his sleep. The values of the company must be imbibed by all from the MD to the Gateman. All employees must know why the organization exits and what values it holds dear.I beats me when someone says the MD or GM does not permit certain type of practices. It should be our company values are not in line with such practices. We must move more towards institutionalism and less on the lone genius or the MD. It does not speak well when the standards that apply to management is different from the line workers. Leaders must lay examples and demonstrate the way to go. They need to take time to explain the rationale behind decisions as much as time permits. We have employed people’s minds, hearts and not just their hands. No matter how well you compensate your employees, we must ensure that we continuously explore ways to keep them engaged. How can we align their interest with that of the organization? Can we show them that their interest is been served as they pursue the organizations agenda. Which new skills are they developing by virtue of working with you as line manager? Are they exposed to continuous training and best practices? Implementing Work life balance and family friendly policies will further engender our employee commitment. I recall a friend who once wanted to exit an organization, it was the spouse who prevailed on him to stay put. This is because the spouse could feel the welfare incentives of the organization. A friend once worked for an organization where spouse were not allowed to come for the end of year party. Such a spouse who feels disenfranchised would urge the friend to move on if a better opportunity presents itself. Can we trust our leadership? Is our organization purposeful? If the vision of the organization is not plain and documented, the people will be slow and sluggish. Vision provides the fuel, drive and impetus to forge ahead. It takes away eye service or ass licking. It increases efficiency and reduces error. People who are sold out to a cause break every barrier en route their achieving success. They turn their tasks to accomplishment and see how what they do add to the bottom line. Every role in that organization becomes as important as the other. It is not enough to have an open door, we must also have an open heart.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Underestimated Forms of Capital

Most people have just “one reason” they have not started their business or embarked on a venture, and that is "Lack of Capital" While this may be a fact, it is generally misunderstood to mean just money or finance. There are four types of capital I will like discuss in this forum. 1. Financial Capital- We are all generally exposed to this so I will move on to the other forms. 2. Reputational Capital- This can also be seen as integrity. Can people take your word to the bank? Are you credit worthy if you don’t have a physical collateral? You can only leverage on this kind of capital if you have built it over the years. Do you keep to time, schedules, deadlines, commitments? This form of capital can easily help you attract financial capital. 3. Relational Capital – I find it strange when people complain that people in authority have shared all appointments to their friends, who else should they share it with? You do business with those you trust. You trust people when you know them. So how do you treat the people in your network right now? Do you look down on some people with disdain? Are you condescending when you interact with people who in your opinion are of a "lower estate"? People who are stranded or without assistance may perhaps have failed to develop and cultivate their social capital. People give to relationships and not to needs. People will give a beggar N50 and give a friend's son N1000 and tell him to manage the small money. 4. Educational (Know-how) Capital – This is the tool that helps you in problem solving. What curse can your course cure? What intellectual contribution can you bring to the table? Your skills and its commercial value comes to play here. The processes and systems you know and how you have put them to use comes to the fore here. In spite of the scarcity of jobs in this country, I have friends who have changed jobs 4 times in the same year. Head Hunters just keep pursuing them on the strength of their know-how, guess what they didn't even apply for those jobs. If what you have is a "pure water" credential, if your skill is common then your chances of attracting financial capital is slim. 5. Time – This is one form of capital we all have equal amount (24 hours each per day). This is the capital with which we can develop, pursue and acquire other forms of capital. How do you use your off-peak period? Are you utilizing fully your professional network and contacts? Are you passive or active in associations? Are you engaged or disengaged. Are you learning, unlearning and relearning? What you do with your time should be value adding. Perhaps I should end with a quote from the oldest book “For unto everyone that has shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that has not shall be taken away even that which he has.” Mattew 25 vs 29. The first rule in capital is knowing that you have something with which to exchange. Don’t go with a cap in hand. Look within, you have all you need!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Strategic Thinking

The standard of living of all animals are typically the same except for the impact of men on their environment. A sharp contrast however exist in the standard of living of men between and within geographic territories. One of the key factor responsible for this is how we have applied our self to thinking and problem solving. Some people have outsourced all their problems to God. That way, the only thing they do is pray. Yet prayer without works is dead. Some other people have outsourced the solving of their problems to the government or CEO’s. They just hope that someone somewhere will do something. The first duty of an individual is to define their present reality. If where you are today is not your responsibility, I doubt if you can make progress. Opportunities are passing some people by on a daily basis. They have not prepared themselves to harness and take advantage of the treasure they see as trash. We need to think out of the box. “Thus, the task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that which everybody sees.” ― Arthur Schopenhauer To achieve success we have to embrace strategic thinking. According to Wikipedia, Strategic thinking is defined as a mental or thinking process applied by an individual in the context of achieving success in a game or other endeavor. What is the future of our present decisions? What can we do differently to achieve a different result? Can we establish a relationship between goals? Can we identify the driving goal i.e. the goal with the highest impact? To achieve more in this quarter, we must take steps that moves us towards our goal or gives us an unfair advantage. Don’t be afraid to blaze a new trail. Be ready to be flexible to change approach or methodology if things are not going as planned. Ensure you align your resources to get maximum results. The question you should ask yourself right now is “What has to happen” for you to move to the next level.