In order to build long-term sustainable value in your business, you must understand that the business is all about the people. People generally want work with a purpose, to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves, and that their work matters. As a business owner, you need to understand that you are leading a group of volunteers. Your employees could go somewhere else to work. What will endear them to you and the company is when you provide them with a clear and compelling sense of purpose. When there is a clear purpose that drives you and your organization, it will put you in a position to determine which of your people are in alignment with that purpose and which ones aren’t.
When you begin to evaluate your people according to whether or not they are in alignment with the purpose, you will discover that there are those who are so far out of alignment that it’s clear to everyone. These people will either self-select off of your team, or you will need to “throw them overboard.” Although it’s extremely difficult to fire someone, rest assured that you are doing them and your company a great disservice if you do not give them the freedom to go find another place of employment.
More importantly, once you have gotten rid of those who are so out of alignment with your purpose that no one is unclear about it, you will need to turn your attention to those who are only slightly out of alignment. These are potentially the ones that are most dangerous to your organization. They will spend a great deal of time and energy trying to persuade you and/or the rest of your team to change directions. A slight miscalculation in course could land you far away from your desired destination. Work toward identifying how these people are out of alignment and determining what they need to do to get in alignment. Perhaps they do not understand the purpose. Perhaps they are in the wrong role. Perhaps they do not understand how to fulfill their role. Or maybe it’s something beyond their and your control. Deal with it.
When you work toward developing a clear and compelling purpose, you give your employees either something they can commit to or a good reason to leave. When you have aligned your employees around the pursuit of a compelling purpose, you are on your way to building long-term sustainable value.
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