Low People Productivity?

I’ve always been intrigued that why do 95% of CEOs fail to grow their business, 17% grow very slowly, 48% hover on the breakeven point for years together, 11% get into a debt trap and 19% go bankrupt.

One of the reasons I found was very very interesting.

I was working with this CEO who was very very committed to populate her organization with A-team members.

She spent a lot of time interviewing them and creating a very robust salary package that she attracted some of the best talent that she could find.

Now, she had the A-team, but that A-team was not performing.

And the attrition levels were extremely high.

When she brought this issue, we looked at it from different angles and I myself was intrigued wondering what’s going on here.

I invited the whole core team for just spending some time in a very informal conversation.

And I picked up something which was completely off center.

It was not even in the ballpark of the game that they were playing.

I found that these people were not feeling acknowledged.

They were not feeling appreciated.

And then when I looked at it from zooming out a bit, I found that if you want to create an A-team then you need to acknowledge, appreciate and let them get on with it.

If you are going to micromanage them then there is no way in which you’re going to get that top performance.

The whole process that we undertook was just one word – Acknowledge.

And we created multiple ways of embedding acknowledgement in their culture including a formal one-hour process every week where the CEO would stand in the middle of her core team and one by one should acknowledge their contributions in the week.

The whole energy got transformed.

Attrition came down from 40% to 0%.

And they were able to achieve the Best Place to Work Award in that year.

And that was a remarkable turnaround just by bringing acknowledgement into the space.

When we look at what really creates success, success comes from discretionary effort that people put in.

And by its very definition, discretionary effort is not something that you can induce, you can bribe, you can buy, you can give them incentives because if you can influence it in any which way, it’s not discretionary.

Discretionary effort is when does somebody feel touched, moved, and inspired to put their heart and soul in what they’re doing, and when that begins to happen, you now unleashed a dynamic that is going to just accelerate your business and make it grow.

The next year the same company was chosen as the number 39 out of the top 100 SMEs in Dubai.

It was an amazing turnaround by just finding one element that was missing and putting it in there in a very beautiful way.

Of course, we put in all the other elements around it to enable the A-team to really start performing as an A-team.

The question really here is if you have the heart and you have that desire and you’re willing to spend money to get an A-team, then you really need to be like some of the, you know…

One of the most amazing industrialists in India, Mr. JRD Tata, when somebody asked him what is the secret of your success? He said something so down to earth and so wonderful, that it really really resonates with me and it’s deep in my heart.

What he said is “That I make sure I surround myself with people who are better than me and then I keep out of their way.” That was JRD Tata.

And what do most business owners do? They surround themselves with A-team players and then interfere, micromanage, and reduce them from A-team to B-team to C-team and then obviously these guys want to leave because what they signed up for is not what is happening.

So, this is a classic case of how do you align yourself. Of course, you want to make sure everything happens, but there’s a way, there’s a process.

And when we worked with that process to align everything, all this kind of magic started to happen.

Video reference number: 022016