While writing my latest book The People Manager’s Toolkit I came across this quote that I ultimately used as a lead in to the first chapter, ‘People management — the foundations of success’:
I believe the real difference between success and failure in a corporation can be very often traced to the question of how well the organization brings out the great energies and talents of its people.
Thomas J.Watson, Jr. Former CEO of IBM
and author of A Business and Its Beliefs (1963)
Perfectly capturing the message at the heart of my book I was eager to include it. Thomas J. Watson so eloquently summarized what the past 20 years in business have taught me about achieving results through people. That is, talent, energy and behaviour matter – great results are possible only when talented people invest energy and behave in ways that enable success.
As I share in The People Managers Toolkit “when talented people are motivated to bring the full strength of their knowledge, skills and experience to their role, truly great outcomes are possible. A manager’s ability to develop the talents and capabilities of their team and to influence successful behaviours drives the level of performance that is ultimately achieved”.
Successful leaders not only approach their role in ways that inspire people to follow; they effectively leverage the tools available to them to build the strength of the human capabilities and spirit needed to drive results. Included in every people manager’s toolkit are the essential systems, processes, policies, programs and resources that underpin an effective approach to human resource management.
There is no magic wand however in The People Manager’s Toolkit. Each of the approaches and tools I describe in the book have the potential to enable success in hiring great people, leveraging their talent and keeping them engaged with a business for the long term. Ultimately however these tools are valuable only to the extent to which they are effectively applied.
Focused and disciplined leadership is necessary for a team to reach the peak of their potential. Deliberately building talent, nurturing a team’s spirit, and influencing behaviour are critical priorities of successful people managers. How well are you managing the energy, talent and behaviour of your team? Here are ten questions that will give you some insight to how you are going:
- How often do you stop and reflect upon the depth of talent across your team or business?
- What plans do you have in place to grow the capabilities of your team in line with your vision and strategy?
- Do you know to what extent you have the talent you need on your team and what capabilities you need to develop?
- How disciplined are you and your team members in ensuring development plans are implemented?
- Do you have a strong sense of how energized the people on your team are?
- Do you have insight to how deep their energy reserve is? In other words do you have a sense of whether people have the energy to tap into if things get tough?
- To what extent does your leadership style and approach energize people on your team? Are there things you do or don’t do that drain energy from people on your team?
- Do you understand and appreciate the impacts of working relationships between people? Do you have insight to the strength of your staff’s relationships with you, their colleagues, customers and anyone else they regularly interact with? Do you know if these relationships uplift or undermine their spirit?
- Do you set clear expectations of how you want people to behave? To you both tell and show people that you mean what you say and will hold them accountable to delivering in line with those expectations?
- Are consequences applied for the way people on your team behave? Do you reward and recognize behaviours that enable team success and address conduct that is not aligned with your business values?