Check out the latest news reports from Wall Street and the focus is almost always on profits and losses.
How much is the market up or down? Which corporation made how much money this quarter?
But in recent years, some CEOs have begun to rethink the idea that profits should be the driver behind every decision. Instead, there’s an emerging philosophy that having a purpose beyond money and putting people first – especially employees – places companies in a better position to succeed in the long run.
A piece of advice I got from a mentor a long time ago was this: “Your job as CEO is not to grow a company; your job is to grow people who grow the company.”
Watching others learn, grow, and develop has been one of the most rewarding parts of my entrepreneurial journey. My goal is always to hire smart people, and to create a working environment that breeds greatness in them.
There are a number of tactics you can use to achieve that. Just a few of those include:
- Make sure everyone is in alignment. Everyone in the company, from the intern all the way up to the CEO, should know what the company’s strategic plan is and how what they do each day helps the company achieve that plan. What I’ve found in most businesses is the senior leaders want to keep the company’s strategic plan a secret. They think all these important things shouldn’t be discussed with the rank and file. But if employees aren’t clear about the company’s plan, how can they successfully help bring it about?
- Let facts and data guide decisions. One of the things I tell my employees is this: “When it comes to decision making, if we’re going to go with opinions, we’ll go with mine.” Of course, I don’t want to make decisions based on even my opinion; I prefer facts and data. I let employees know I’m open to their ideas, but I expect those ideas to be backed up with facts and data that demonstrate why it’s a good idea.
- Encourage professional development. If employees aren’t careful, the company will grow and they won’t grow with it in terms of their abilities. That’s why I encourage 120 hours per year of professional development for everyone on my team. I also grant each employee $1,000 per year to buy business books, invest in online seminars, attend classes or take other steps that help them improve. My philosophy is: If you don’t have the aptitude, drive and desire to improve yourself, why would I want you on my team?
- Have fun. Employees should enjoy the journey and each other. Not only is that good for the employees’ personal well being, but it’s also good for the company. Studies have shown that happy employees are more productive.
Ultimately, it’s important for both businesses and their employees to adapt to a changing world, or else they will find themselves left behind. You may not like change, but you will dislike irrelevance even more.
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