When working with a team of business leaders, one of my first questions is “How many of you are ready to go to the next level?” Either a lot of hands go up or there is a chorus of “Absolutely.” And then I ask them “How many of you know what the next level looks like?” The near to total silence is deafening. They don’t know what the next level looks like; and there is some concern that somehow, it might require more work and effort.

Going beyond average takes at least two distinct skills and/or attitudes: capacity and inclination.

  1. What strengths do we have related to our human resource capacity? What strengths do you have related to your human resource capacity? If you believe your people are your greatest asset but your organization is under-performing or average, then something isn’t ringing true. If you really want to have a good team, then you have to have people who get it, who want it, and who have the capacity to make it happen – and you need to know what “it” is.

  2. What strengths do you have from a process and procedure standpoint? When W. Edwards Deming was helping Japan rebuild after World War II, he approached low performance from a process standpoint. He felt the problem was almost always in the process. How easy do you make it for people to be successful and to do business with you? There’s more than a slight possibility that a process introduced years ago to solve a past problem has, in itself, become the current problem.

Depending upon your frame of reference, 75% of the world is average or above. What will differentiate your team is the level of influence those who are above average have over those who are either average or below which takes us right into “process”, because that’s where leaders shine. Leaders know what to put in place to make it easy for people to be successful. Usually it’s something simple.

In short, people and organizations underperform because we make success more difficult than it really is. Keep processes simple, and you’ll make it easier to be successful.

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