Sustaining Results: Balancing People, Values and Business

By Nancy Proffitt, President of Proffitt Management Solutions and Proffitt Management Leadership Institute

nancy proffitt photoLeaders in companies often speak with great passion about how they run a people first organization, while instead spending the majority of time talking to employees about revenues and profits. As business owners or departments head we all share the basic premise that a business has to make money to stay in business. But what we chose to focus on to make that money is key to whether we are successful in that endeavor or not.

Companies who sustain continued success realize the people in their organization are the drivers of the service level and PROFITS a company seeks to achieve.

Three common themes underlie the things that successful companies do to develop and tap the potential of their people:

1. The company has a clear, well-articulated set of values that are the foundation for management practices that provide for the company’s competitive success.

2. The company has a remarkable degree of alignment and consistency in the people-centered practices that express its core values.

3. Senior managers in these companies (not just the founders or the CEO) are leaders whose primary role is to ensure that the values are maintained and constantly made real to all of the people who work in the organization.

The most visible characteristics of successful companies are their values and the fact that the values come first even before stock price. Why are values so important? Because money by itself isn’t sufficient for motivating long-term high performance. Most of us need to believe that what we are doing makes a difference to others and that our work is important. We also want to feel that we are valued as people. We want to be respected for who we are, not simply for what we do.

Companies more than ever need to have a clear understanding of their people and their values in order to make work meaningful and thereby attract, motivate and retain outstanding people. There must be a balance with people, values and business in order to create sustainable results.

When core values are clearly defined and articulated, they become living values that get communicated and reinforced continually. In the absence of repetitive reminders of these values other implicit and negative values can take over, such as individual ambition at the expense of team work. The only insurance against such undermining is to reinforce values in both language and actions.

John Miller, author, reminds us that every leader in a company should ask these questions regularly:

1. How can I reinforce and communicate our core values on a daily basis?

2. How can I create and communicate a clear vision for the part of the business that I manage?

3. What can I do to help others understand how our values drive our strategies?

4. How can I provide the people with whom I work with clear performance objectives that support our values?

5. How can I create an atmosphere in which people feel included and valued?

6. What can I do to ensure that everyone is heard?

7. How can I help my people succeed?

8. How can I show people they’re important to our success?

9. What can I do to maximize the talents of those who work with me?

10. How can I help people learn from their mistakes?

11. What can I do to ensure that people have the knowledge, skills and tools they need to be successful?

12. How can I build better relationships with my customers?

13. How can I increase the value my customers receive?

14. How can I build better relationships with my suppliers?

15. What can I do to build strong relationships with the local community?


Nancy Proffitt's management columns appear every other Thursday only in Palm Beach To read her previous column, click here.

Nancy Proffitt, MBA, Certified Business Coach, is the president of Proffitt Management Solutions and Proffitt Management Leadership Institute. She is a board member of the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce and Legacy Bank. Click here to check out her blog. She may be reached at 561-682-6060 or by email. Visit her website by clicking here or here.

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