The effective use of leverage and levers can exact a powerful outcome for organizations who have the foresight and fortitude to use it. Leverage is defined as the exertion of effort by means of an object; to use something to maximum advantage. Of course, people aren’t objects. But, people are the most effective “levers” an organization has. Yet, leveraging people isn’t a strategic objective of most organizations. And, when it is, politics and competing objectives hinder the effort. Being decisive takes guts. Avoiding politics takes guts. Many organizations are sorely lacking in the area of intestinal fortitude.
If you imagine a lever-let's take the hot and cold levers on a water spigot as an example- you must decide the temperature of the water you're trying to reach. Then, one must "address" the lever (you've got to be there, be present). You have to put your hand to the lever and make a commitment as to how much hot you'll turn on and how much cold you'll turn on. By adjusting the levers, you achieve the desired temperature. By just turning the levers on, and not making any adjustments or changes, you will lose control of your desired outcome.
When was the last time you heard a chief executive officer "address" their organization with a history lesson – "why" are we in business? How did we get to this point? Then proceed to let their people know that they (the CEO) will be working hard to understand the market, anticipate changes or opportunities, adjust the organization and the "levers" in order to optimize the skills of everyone to meet their goals. Together, the organization can continue their forward motion.
And, it's not just one and done. There's leverage and then there's measuring the effect of that leverage. Once you measure the effect, adjustments to that leverage can occur-perhaps allowing employees to gain exposure and experience in another department or work group. That's using leverage for the good of the company.
After all, the CEO’s job is not to make certain everyone is doing their job. The CEO’s job is to do what they were hired to do, or if they are the owner, what they are charged to do by being that owner/operator. Their job is to anticipate, plan and make adjustments or changes, and to be inspirational in that role. That happens when CEO’s are real. Real honest. Real present. Real transparent. They should see themselves as the servant of all – it’s their job to create the right organization, adjust the right levers, communicate early and often and be accountable for those adjustments.
I’d like you to consider the effect of leveraging-truly leveraging-your most valuable asset-your people-for true forward motion. Not change for change sake, but change in order to keep moving forward. And, I'd like to challenge you to look at how you are leveraging your single most important business component, simplify your thinking around leverage and consider if you have the inner fortitude to make the changes and adjustments needed to keep moving forward. Leading. And truly leveraging - starting with yourself.
About the Author:
Carla Cole, VP Business Development & Resource Management, Sequent
Carla has extensive experience in learning and organizational development, building high performance teams and staffing. She also has led technology implementation and process change in healthcare, banking, finance, insurance, manufacturing, and distribution. Carla’s commitment sets a high bar for increased profitability and client delight.