To be talented is something many people strive for. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to become so great at something that you are said to have superior ability in that field. This term doesn’t seem to get enough credit in the world of staffing and talent acquisition, though.
Too often, it is associated simply with people and not with the talents they bring. But I wish more companies would start highlighting the word talent and utilizing it to their teammates’ advantage, because this word can be such a motivator to so many. If only it were used correctly, the way it’s used in the world of sports.
In any team sport, success isn’t measured on an individual level. It isn’t about how many times one player can get into the end zone compared to others in the same position. What counts is that the team plays well as a whole. Comradery is what brings teams to the level where they have the chance to win their Super Bowl.
Talent is all around you. You simply need to give talent the chance to shine. Uniqueness creates talent, but no single talent can drive your company to success. To be great, you need a team of different talents working together toward one mission. Culture, purpose, and core values are the three pillars on which your entire company stands. Don’t rush through these or brush them off as unnecessary. Your people are what make those pillars valuable. There’s no point in building pillars if there’s no weight to be held. Putting people first can be one of the greatest starting points toward creating value in your company.
Culture is a word that’s often thrown around but is rarely ever taken seriously. Just as core values are often thought of as words on a website that rarely ever come into play, company culture is sometimes given the same treatment. But, let me tell you: it’s a word and a practice that can be so inspiring and moving. It can cause entire teams to kick into overdrive in the midst of a global pandemic that threatened their health and their financial well-being. Company culture can create some serious action if you take the time to implement it before it’s too late.
It doesn’t matter if your company operates in-house, remotely, in the same time zone, or on different continents. Everybody is on the same page when you promote a culture of positivity and teamwork. A strong company culture creates a resounding desire to work together toward an achievable goal. Expect the unexpected. Preparation is important, but you need to plan for the unforeseen as well. Don’t be afraid to change the rules if needed. Empower entrepreneurship. Three pillars of your business can only create a strong foundation if all three pillars share equal strength. One weak link can make the entire business collapse. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. You can strategize all you want, but you need culture to motivate the people to execute that strategy.
Locking Arms, Remotely
No business builds itself perfectly from inception. Iterations and pivots will take place throughout your business’s life—that’s inevitable. Over time, more efficient processes will be discovered, and changes will be made. The three pillars you initially build will be supported, restructured, and reinforced when necessary.
Your core values pillar is no exception. Core values will go through some growth phases. You won’t get them all right from the very beginning, but you can certainly continue to work on them and refine them as your company grows. And it’s important to do so because unforeseen events will happen. They may not be at catastrophic levels, like COVID-19, but they can still be traumatic to any organization that isn’t fully prepared.
As a leader, it is important to build future leaders who can help constantly build your company. A set of great core values can pull an entire team together. Core values can be the deciding factor in whether or not your company can survive an unpredictable circumstance. Have empathy for others. Care about people. Make your three-pillar system about more than just your bottom line.
Creatively Collaborative and Connected
Jim Collins mentions this idea of “cultlike” organizations in his book, Good to Great, and although the word “cultlike” is one I’m not so fond of, the idea holds premise. The thought is that companies need to create this sort of culture in order to achieve those BHAGs, or Big Hairy Audacious Goals, that he also mentions. For us, the idea is much simpler: be intentional and thoughtful. Only then can you truly build rapport among your team.
Having internal teamwork and collaboration is one thing, but it’s important to work with partners with similar values. Company culture focused on strong core values allows a team to act more like a family than a group of coworkers. A strong, collaborative culture can allow your company to more easily transition during difficult times. When things look grim, it’s important to keep a mindset that you will come out the other side eventually. Don’t put target dates on when that will happen, though. Stay the course, and good things will result. Collaboration can occur in ways you might never expect. Iterate, try new things, and see what best motivates your team.
Being Intentional and Transparent
People can easily see through a company that claims to be committed to transparency and openness, yet isn’t. It’s not hard for employees to poke holes in an organization’s core values or mission statement. Saying you’re going to do something and actually doing it are two completely different things.
Ego won’t help your balance sheet. Pretending that your growth is continuing to go up and to the right—when, in reality, you’re struggling—won’t bode well with your team. There is more to the lives of your employees than the company they work for. Families, finances, and security are bound to top the list of every person you employ, and if you can be humble enough to remember that, all should be fine.
Transparency within your company needs to start at the top. It can make you feel vulnerable, but it will create a stronger, more unified culture. Go with your gut. Be intentional about what you care for most and share those intentions with your team. Your company’s employees and their families should take precedence over everything. Don’t force your team to bottle their emotions, thoughts, and feelings. Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives allow those who are passionate about their culture and social issues to connect with one another. This creates even more unity throughout the company.
Empowering People from Afar
The feeling of deservedness and empowerment allows people to go out and confidently tackle problems. It’s the people who make everything happen. It’s the people who make sales calls and communicate with clients and rebuild the house when a tsunami roars through town. The people are the heart of any business, and without them, there wouldn’t be a business.
No amount of hard work put into creating systems and processes can put a team of collaborative, caring people in place. There isn’t a single thing that we could have done without the help of our families. Focus on building a culture and a team that fits well into that culture. Because it’s that team that will help to carry you across the finish line. You can have the strongest foundation—the strongest three pillars ever constructed. But if you have no team to stand proudly on that foundation, then you have no business to grow, scale, and create a cascading positive effect on the world.
Empowering people, no matter where they are in proximity, is one of the best ways to motivate and promote positive outcomes. Improvisation is one of the most underrated tools in business. Use software tools and assessments to pull the best out of your team and to create the best collaborative relationships. Concentrate on your people, because they are the ones who will help to grow your company and spread your message.