We must become the change that we wish to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi
A good life is one that is characterised by complete absorption in what one does – Jeanne Nakamura and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
A VALUE-DRIVEN APPROACH
The next step for upping the ante in Australian business? Inspiring a VALUE-DRIVEN approach to performance, assessment and promotion.
In a highly regulated and stable business environment, Australian businesses (such as the banks) achieved high ROE off cost synergies and sales growth.
The new normal landscape in South-East Asian led growth, nevertheless, switches us to the pole of quality relationships.
Employees, broadly, are going to be exposed to Asian and non-Anglo investors/customers, an evolving regulatory framework and different workplace and cultural norms.
“You Get What You Measure”: From my experience, Australian business currently tends to measure heavily according to compliance and volume from target-driven growth. (Setting sales and profit metrics which translate down to strict sets of KPIs for individual business units).
This made some sense in a period of heavy inorganic expansion, with easy corporate and household credit and a stable domestic legislative framework.
But the new environment requires us to INNOVATE. And that means Australian employees, in order to be successful, will have to shift rapidly to customer-focussed growth and away from transaction-based growth. In this environment, ideas count.
Employees should optimally – and, in fact, practically – be assessed on the strength and implementation of their ideas. This requires employees to collaborate, initiate and execute creative projects in a rapidly shifting economy. There are no simple path-driven routes to success in such a fluid landscape.
In other words, Australian business needs to start measuring succinctly for LEADERSHIP.
VALUE IS DRIVEN ‘AROUND’ KPIs
AND BY QUALITY
Though it is essential to measure targets the business sets for its staff – and through its managers – it is now critically important to assess accurately ‘how’ employees contribute to valuable growth toward their business mission. And, equally, managers above all should be measured by how they ‘grow’ their employees in the soft skill set requisite to creative team development.
This necessitates business seniors “looking behind” formal results to the substance of team activity and how that drives valuable business development.
This conceptual target, if you will, must take precedence over the simple numbers, processes and outcomes, crucial as they are. And yes, we should be looking for ‘simple’ processes. Even childishly simple, if businesses can pull it off.
REWARD CREATIVE SOLUTIONS
AND CREATIVE ‘SOLVERS’
I have to be frank, here. Australian business will need to become much more attuned to employee engagement and reward good employees appropriately. The ‘dollar and cents’ attitude to containing business overhead by saving on employee expense will soon become redundant. And possibly a liability.
As Montesquieu stated, ‘What cowardice it is to be dismayed by the happiness of others and devastated by their good fortune’.
In a War for Talent – this compound noun is capitalised deliberately – Australian business needs to prioritise the message, ‘find, grow, retain’ as a corporate mantra to avoid stagnation. Employees are themselves conduits to customers and knowledge, and as brand ambassadors provide access to new markets.
SO BE GENEROUS,
GET OUT THERE AND