Last week I spent the afternoon with a marvellous bunch of HR professionals, L&D gurus, and some stellar CEOs amongst many other impressive human beings at the Harrison HR Best Workplace Accelerator hosted by Claire Harrison and her team.
The speakers were extremely impressive, inspiring, informative and personal. What I found really interesting as I sat and listened to three CEOs from three very different but equally successful businesses is that the ‘secret sauce’ driving them each to success (dragging their businesses, investors, boards, etc. with them) was virtually the same!
When you attend an event such as this, more often than not, you sit and listen to one magical business person, usually sitting in the C-Suite, imparting his or her personal ‘niche’ approaches to achieveing a success state within their organisation. Sometimes there are nifty hints, tips, tricks and maybe an innovative or groundbreaking approach they used to get there.
What I found encouraging to hear, is that these three successful CEOs; Tristan White, The Physio Co., Mark Middleton, The Icon Group, and Glen Richards of Greencross Vets/Petbarn (and a gamut of other impressive brands); ALL spoke the same language, and none had heard the other’s spiel. There were no outrageous tricks, no secret methods or models. Just plain and simple ‘good’ business with an unrelenting focus on people, authenticity and courage. As a spectator those qualities oozed out of each of the three leaders in a genuine an unprovoked way.
They all subscribed to the same concepts and repeated them – a lot:
- Create and LIVE with ferocity, a strong and healthy culture: Back it with a clear vision! Protect, encourage, and celebrate your people. Tristan White managed to mention The Physio Co’s actual vision of “Helping seniors stay mobile safe and happy’ no less than twenty times through his address. He believes it! He lives and breathes it.
- Big Hairy Audcaious Goals (BHAGs): Have one, make it clear, gutsy and brave. Verablise it, celebrate it, agonise and fight for it everyday.
- Communication: Communicate everything. Connect, listen, and share information amongst teams and people. Ask yourself: do the people on the frontline really understand what the goals of the business are, or are they guessing, aligning their efforts to that and hoping for the best outcome? Communication is integral to EVERY successful relationship. Over communicate if you have to, but don’t forget to listen just as much.
- Attract the right people for the job and recruit SUPERSTARS
- Develop from within: Even if that means taking a gamble on a less qualified individual. Someone that has been working within your business for a few years knows a whole lot more about your business and its environment, than a newbie with a fresh degree. Invest in upskilling and developing your current team.
- Genuinely invest in your people and keep doing it: Mark Middleton attracted top talent to start up an oncology practice in rural Queensland by including a substantial learning and development allowance every single year, and still does. Tristan White described the ‘Party Rhythm’ at The Physio Co where they celebrate their achievements internally, and they do it with gusto.
The topic of the L&D budget came up time and time again with Claire Harrison reinforcing the messages throughout the afternoon as she moved through her six step Best Workplace Method. For me, this was incredibly interesting as when I’m out in the industry, the L&D budget is often the leanest arm of the beast and it’s the first thing to suffer when times are tough.
However, you can’t bring to life that impressive business plan, achieve that BHAG, or retain the superstars you’ve attracted if you aren’t developing them? Don’t train for training sake – that’s not a genuine investment. Instead think about:
- Educating to develop and retain your investment (your people),
- Educate to protect your investment (people and brand), and
- Educate to develop the talent that exist within your business, those people the greatest capacity for supporting growth and success.
In summary, here’s an easy reminder of how to create a successful business, and an engaged workforce:
Engaged employees –> Loyal Customers –> Productive and Profitable Business
For more information on how to develop within, download our Leadership Development best practice whitepaper, or contact us today for more information on how you can protect and grow your business from the inside.