It amazes me how many successful small businesses don’t value leadership development at every level of their company. A manufacturing company that I have recently spoken with declined my services because the president didn’t believe that his people would be open to an on-going leadership development program. This is what he believed about all his people, at every level: office staff, sales people, supervisors, shipping, and manufacturing. I would think that in a chaotic, unpredictable, economy like we are currently in you would want all of your people developing their leadership skills. Right now, that is your only competitive advantage; how effective you are at developing your people, at every level.
Investing in your people will always yield the greatest ROI. You just never know where the next big idea is going to come from. If you’re not empowering your people to think, create, and take ownership that next big idea probably won’t come. You’re not even including that person in the conversation. Your most creative person isn’t being listened to, their ideas and opinions carry no weight with you or your staff. So as a result you continue to miss growth opportunities and you are being passed by competitors who aren’t making these same mistakes with their people. Any company, or organization, that is light on leadership will never fulfill its true potential.
Lets look at this from a practical side, as well. Leaders take responsibility. Imagine how productive your company would be if everybody took responsibility for performing at their very best, every day. What about if everybody took responsibility for cleaning up after themselves, or making sure a work station was ready to go for the next person using that station. Under these conditions people take pride in their work and make the environment more efficient for everyone. This is what a leadership culture looks like in the work place. Increased profits is what it looks like on the financial reports.
The bottom line is that we are in the Information Age. The key to thriving in the Information Age is to leverage information. The best way to do that is by developing your people. You develop your people through an on-going leadership development program. If you have people that refuse to participate in such a program, well, it’s time “to get the wrong people off the bus”. Your company will never become all that it can be by hanging on to people who don’t want to grow. There’s too many great people out there looking for a great company to work with to hang on to people that don’t want to be great. That may sound tough, but you owe it to your people to make sure that your company stays viable in the coming depression. Are you willing to risk your company for the feelings of a couple of people that aren’t committed to growing to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive global economy? Will you develop a leadership culture or an unemployed culture? The choice is yours…the storm is coming.