What’s the key to success in today’s competitive market?

In the majority of businesses in the UK today, the biggest figure on the cost section of any Profit and Loss Statement is almost always; wages and salaries. The challenge facing most business leaders is to make sure that this cost on the Profit and Loss is actually an investment and not just a cost.

One of the major reasons for keeping this a cost in many businesses is when you have the wrong people in your business. Having the wrong people can create a number of challenges which directly effect efficiency, customer service and profitability in the business.

To start with, let’s have a look at the different kinds of people you can end up with in your business and the possible effect they could have on your business.

The first group you just don’t want or need in your business are those that can turn almost every positive into a negative. They love to go around sharing their feelings of doom and tell people millions of reasons why things cannot be done or achieved. They suck every aspect of enthusiasm and energy from the business and can have a major effect on a business or department. As a leader, I am sure you have met these people and just imagine trying to inspire them to help you achieve goals or results.

Then we have those who have the answer to every question, well that is until you ask them to go and implement the answer. They are always free with their advice and can’t wait to tell everyone about how fantastic and clever they are, however, they never ever seem to get going and actually do or achieve anything. These people have a habit of frustrating any team they are members of and reducing the capability of the team to reach its targets. How would you go about driving change or new ideas into your business with one or more of these wonderful people around?

The next candidates we can experience in our business life are those who make sure you know they are around and will appear to support you and tell you how wonderful things are to your face, but the minute you leave the office; they get their knives out and start the stabbing. They have great ability to split teams, drag others away from focussing on the goals and slow every process down as they are masters of misinformation. Often they are admired and respected by other members of the team as they believe that they have the boss’s ear and that they have great powers of influence over any decisions. With their powers of dividing the team, often energy, focus and direction are lost in the teams or businesses they are members of. As a leader with these types of people in your business or group, how will you inspire the team to a continuous level of increasing success and results?

The last group of people we really need to watch out for in our business or departments are those high flyers who appear to achieve great results but who break every rule and rarely follow company systems or processes. They are happy to step on colleagues as well as clients to make sure they fuel their own egos and get the results they are looking for. They are not team players and will often break teams down as all they are looking for is their own results. They do everything their way and as such; the overall result of the team or business is often of very little importance to them. As the leader of a group with these types of people in them, you could have an enormous task trying to pull the team together and inspire them to new levels of success and achievement. It is vital that you recognise this type of people, as once they are in a business it is often difficult for business owners or leaders to get rid of them as they are fearful of losing what they think are highly skilled and effective people. Almost every business I have worked with which had one of this type of people in it, the owner knew in their heart what was going on but were just too scared to lose the person that they turned a blind eye to the effects they were having on the team and the business as a whole.

Now that we have highlighted a number of different types of people which we don’t want in our business, what types of people do we want in the business to make sure we can run a business which is happy and consistently achieves the results we are looking for?

We need to build a business made up of people who not only have the skills we require in the business, but who also engage with the goals and vision of the business, but what is more, people who understand and can live with the culture of the business.

So how do we go about dealing with any of those types of people who we do not want in our business, but are sadly already in the business?

The most important strategy to implement with all people in your business is to have relevant measurements for each position and person in the business. These are often called KPI’s, Key Performance Indicators. There are two common errors that many business owners and leaders make with their people.

One is that they often do not measure all the people in their business. It is vital that all people are measured in the business so that if any reviews or appraisals are to be carried out, the owners or leader can deal with real facts of the performance of the person and not just subjective feelings. It is also a great deal easier to follow disciplinary processes when hard facts are in place.

The second error is that when they do measure a person or a role, they often measure what they do and not what the role is expected to achieve. It is important that all roles are measured against the results that the role must achieve and not just on activity.

To take your business to the next level of success and growth in today’s very competitive market place, the performance and quality of your people in the business are most often the reason that makes your business stand out from your competitors.

What are you doing today to make sure your business has the right people in the right roles to ensure the growth and sustainability of your business?

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