The 6 P’s that should be the focus of every business leader
The demands that befall today’s business leaders are enormous. There is a vast and constant array of information that must be confronted. Couple that with an expectation of immediacy that comes with our connected world, it is difficult to know where to place focus. In my opinion, a leader should concentrate on six key growth levers; Purpose, People, Passion, Progress, Product and Profit.
To drive growth, an organization must understand its purpose. This is more than just a mission statement; it is a committable call to action. This is something that gets people out of bed in the morning with a sense that they are making a difference. It is imperative that a leader develops and communicates a clear, strong statement of purpose. Studies have shown that companies that connect to a “higher” sense of purpose significantly out perform those that don’t.
The next “P” is People. Much has been written about employee engagement. I prefer to focus on employee enlightenment. Think of it this way, as a leader do you want employees simply engaged in their work, or would you rather have the light bulb of understanding glow inside an employee who appreciates how their role connects to the higher purpose of company? If you can combine that understanding with employees who feel heard, cared for, valued and respected, then you can be confident that you will be receiving the best from your people.
Organizational passion comes from culture. Passion is a key ingredient that every leader should look to foster. The genesis of organizational passion stems from connecting the company’s purpose with a set of stated core values that truly embody both the culture of company and people that comprise it. In his book, “Delivering Happiness” Tony Hsieh writes, “committable core values that are truly integrated into a company’s operation can align an entire organization and serve as a guide for employees to make their own decisions.”
Passion is fed by progress. To keep passion burning bright, one must see progress being made. An often-made mistake is that both organizational goals and individual goals are set in too large of increments. If there is a big span between celebrated and visible achievement, you run the risk of dampening passion. Break major goals in to smaller milestones. Doing so, will increase the perceived progress being made and will contribute to greater feeling of achievement, which as stated will nourish passion.
A leader who runs an organization with a sense of higher purpose that is filled with great people, who are passionate, still needs a product to sell. For that leader, there are two key and distinct areas of needed concentration. The first is differentiation. Identify how you can distance your offer from that of the competitors and then determine how best to exploit that distance. This applies to either a physical product or a service. Differentiation can be accomplished in numerous ways, quality, ease, customer service, price and more. Find that lever and bear down with all of your weight. The other must is innovation. You must always be looking for that un-met need or that next enhancement. Complacency is the poison of growth. Differentiation today, does not mean it will remain in the future. Always think of how to make your product better.
You may have questioned why profit was left for last. That was done with intent. My belief is that an organization with a higher sense of purpose, with enlightened, passionate people who see progress and which produces differentiated and innovative products, will undoubtedly outperform its competitors. That does not lessen the need of leader to focus on driving profitability. Improving shareholder value and creating a means and a desire to reinvest in the business is the key to achieving long-term sustainability and supports the higher purpose.
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