This term is often heard in relation to leaders, but it goes far beyond a leader who stands behind their ideals. A company has a brand and identity and everything they do and say at every level influences what the outside world thinks of the company.
That includes individual team members.
When the Ocean 5 rowing team set out to race across the Atlantic Ocean, we were speaking to sponsors, using social media and publishing photographs of the amazing sights we saw. It all impacted on how they saw us – as a professional, well-organised team that were worth their investment and interest. We presented ourselves at every meeting or fundraising opportunity in our branded team kit.
We looked like a team, sounded like a team and behaved like a team. We wanted to look like winners long before we ever started the race.
Detailed planning was a key part of the project. Nothing was left to chance – the boat was scrutineered, the food was scrutineered, the crew’s knowledge of the equipment was scrutineered. Every item on board had been checked and counted twice – and then twice more. Setting out and realising we had forgotten something important could be critical.
We had a list of 437 items which were ticked off as they were checked and loaded. With 400kg of food on board, we even had a plan for redistribution of weight as we ate our way through it to ensure the balance of the boat would remain efficient. Each member of the crew knew that we had to apply each detail of the plan and be seen to do so. There are no shortcuts in preparing for a 3,000 mile row across the Atlantic Ocean in winter.
Success is in the detail
The leader in any organisation is the catalyst for the culture within the organisation – and if the leader’s actions are congruent with their expectations of the organisation, the journey to success is likely to have fewer rough seas to navigate.
A leader who steps up and says inspiring things – but isn’t seen to do what it takes to support their ideas will struggle to get the rest of the people in the organisation to be enthusiastic. Whereas a leader who is passionate about every detail – and seen to be so – will fuel the others in the team to follow suit.
The actions the leader takes signal ‘this is important’ … or not.
The customer’s experience doesn’t start when they make a purchase. It can start when they see a TV or print ad, an article that mentions the product or even an overheard comment of someone in the pub.
To create a world class organisation every single aspect of where the customer makes contact with the company must give them a superb experience. Online, offline, the product itself, the delivery of the produce, the service, the support – even the most junior member of the accounts team, needs to know how to deliver.
When each member of the team recognises that attention to detail is led from the top, they are highly likely to follow that lead. Clear delegation of authority and accountability encourages team members to accept responsibility and invites them to ask ‘can we do this better?’ Inspirational and successful organisations are always evaluating the operation and an engaged team will find the way to create ‘moments of magic’ for the client.
A leader looking to improve the organisation should be able to rely upon an engaged and informed team for support – but only if they first set the standard and walk the talk.