When I am speaking, people often ask if there are businesses in other parts of the world experiencing similar problems as us in North America. Based on my experience, the answer to that would be “yes.”
International business owners and leaders tell me they usually summarize their biggest challenges into four major categories:
- People problems: including hiring the right people, keeping them motivated and retaining the best.
- Systems issues: maintaining operational efficiencies, computer and software challenges, and the fast-growing world of social media.
- Government regulations: that are tying the hands of companies from doing what they know needs to be done.
- Economic volatility: which is causing uncertainty in markets around the world.
This past week I have been working in Auckland, New Zealand and was fortunate to connect with a number of successful business leaders. One was Elias Kanaris. He was a senior IT consultant with a large corporation in charge of their top customers which represented $450 million in revenue.
Of the projects that experienced failures, he narrowed the cause down to three “P’s”: Product failure, Process variability, or People. He said that in almost all cases, it was the failure of engaging the people.
There was a recent Gallup survey done that said 68 percent of employees were either not engaged ─ or were actively disengaged. Elias said: “Those actively disengaged employees are corporate terrorists and they need to be disarmed.” His feeling is that this originates from a lack of trust.
If you think of it — it was the absence of trust between employees and management that caused the 2016 Samsung Galaxy Note 7 debacle, which cost the company around $19 billion.
A possible fix to all of this is to bring LOVE into the workplace as a business currency. Elias articulates it this way:
L – Listening
O – Observing
V – Valuing
E – Emphasizing.
One of the speakers on the program here in Auckland is a good friend of mine, Karen Jacobsen. Most of you would know her as the voice of Australian Siri, or as the female voice on your GPS device. Her talk was about “recalculating” – recalculating your life and business direction.
Just like on a road trip where the GPS helps us recalculate our route when we go off track, we need to have a GPS to keep us on track for our business to remain successful. We also need to establish the destination point for our business. This entails creating a strategic plan consisting of: Values (the foundation of who we are), Vision (what we want to become), and your Mission (the reason we come to work each day).
Sometimes we lose our way which creates disharmony between management and employees which can cultivate those ‘corporate terrorists.’ Realizing this and knowing there is a solution motivated Elias to become a corporate consultant and speaker.
My question for all business leaders:
Do you take the time to recalculate where you are going or establish a course correction of behaviors and processes to align with your culture and vision?
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