What is the next ‘big thing’ that will allow an organisation to find success and to maintain it in the internet age when all knowledge appears to be everywhere?
The knowledge economy; the internet, Facebook, Twitter, mobile phones, texting and all the modern means through which every bit of information is available, is everywhere.
Even a Chemistry Professor friend uses Wikipedia as her reference of choice as it’s updated more quickly than her other points of reference.
If all information is readily available to all organisations how do some do so much better than others?
A few are truly entreprenurial and innovative, inventing new things or new ways that have no competition, but most are not. Most are followers who try in some way to do it better than the others.
The success of a company depends in part on the number of good people it can recruit and retain. But the real answer for those companies who do it better lies not only in recruitment and retention but in how they engage and use that principle asset; people.
Recruitment consultants use all kinds of personality profiling to find people with the right attitude as much as skills with some organisations e.g. Southwest Airlines going so far as to recruit attitude and to teach the skills afterwards. The emotional intelligence of employees is now valued alongside intellectual intelligence and leadership has moved from command and control to engage and inspire. However even companies hiring attitude and seeking out those with emotional intelligence are still lagging behind their competitors.
How do those organisations do it better than their competition? And how does this fit together with all that knowledge being everywhere?
The key is SPEED. How quickly a team can use the knowledge available and turn it into some kind of advantage before it is overtaken by the next idea that becomes freely available is fundamental in getting ahead and staying there.
Speed is governed in part by the intellectual ability of the team to do something with the knowledge, but this can be common between teams. The differentiation comes through trust; how much does the team trust the leader and how much do they trust each other so they can push to one side the baggage of mistrust, organisational and personal politics, and all the other negatives that slow down the effective implementation of change.
The concept of the speed of trust is a critical factor.
Is the leader of our team trust worthy? Does his integrity make him worthy of being trusted – by his team, by his boss and by his peers? Is he trusting? Does he truly delegate and allow things to be done ‘our’ way rather than ‘his’ way, confident that the team will get the right result?
Perhaps most important of all does he coach his team in trusting each other? Trust is only as strong as its weakest link and even in a team of only six people there are 30 links of trust.
Most organisations don’t coach and even those that do only do it in a limited way with senior people,sometimes missing out those at the very top. The few most effective ones do it from top to bottom,it is part of the culture. Simple in concept but difficult in practice,for senior people it means giving up power being vulnerable and putting the team needs ahead of their own,even for those who truly believe in it takes courage to actually do it. Which makes the coaching job one of helping people find the courage to ‘do the right thing‘.
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