Improving performance is always high on the agenda; whether I’m in discussions as the client or the provider. And one thing has become patently clear to me. People have to come before process.
I recall one supplier who would routinely bombard me with ideas as to how I could promote my business. But most of them fell on deaf ears because it felt like they were slinging mud at the wall. They didn’t take the time to understand me as an individual (how I process information or like to share it). Nor did they grasp my aspirations for the company.
I wondered whether those ideas were collated from multiple sources. And there’s nothing wrong with that as a place to start. Nevertheless, what was lacking was the skill to distil those ideas and the experience to create ways to use them that would support my business to grow. It shows that ideas are meaningless unless they are considered at the right time and for the right reasons.
There is always room for improvement; I’m sure you would all agree. And so the first step is identifying what you want to improve.
I’ve always taken a dual approach to this. I look at the business set up periodically; to check whether the way we’ve structured it remains relevant in a changing market. In addition, I look at the people who are representing the brand, starting with me. And I ask “What improvements can I make to increase the likelihood of delivering an outstanding client experience; with maximum return on their change investment?”
In our early careers we focus mostly on the technical skills required to get our foot on the ladder. And that can continue for some time – especially in disciplines that are highly technical in nature. The pitfall is in thinking we know everything we need to know and that there’s nothing more to learn. That’s when we can miss opportunities. And that’s when you’re subject to a drop in form.
Clients, colleagues, stakeholders all notice a reduction in performance levels. The key is to understand how your people are contributing to the numbers.
Organisations need processes. Nevertheless, people always come first. You put processes in place to review and manage performance. You use them to identify areas for development, for the record. And you set objectives that provide a framework for those improvements to be made.
The ideal scenario is an organisation full of leaders; each stepping up with the desire to make improvements in their own performance; every single day. Since I wouldn’t expect clients to do anything I haven’t asked of myself; I hold a mirror up to my own performance on a frequent basis.
And as a business, we have a reputation for helping organisations in improving performance through people, rather than systems and processes. After all, people are your greatest asset and so we help you to make the most of that.