With a very busy business life working with five different companies in various roles, sometimes people ask me why I add the additional pressure of professional speaking to my schedule.

It’s for the same reason I write books – to share my experiences to help other people. Helping them to avoid the many mistakes and side tracks that have slowed me down. Helping them to appreciate what really makes a difference when building an extraordinary team and world class organisation.

Running a successful business isn’t about luck, it’s about recruiting the right team, effective planning, good decision making and much more.  There’s plenty of information about business planning, market analysis and management strategy around, but I believe that what makes it all work is the engagement of the people.

Take the people out of the business and you don’t have a business.

I read some stats recently that in most companies only 30% of the staff are engaged in the business, 30% are actively disengaged and 40% are neutral, which means that they’re just doing enough to keep their heads below the parapet.

My ‘secret’ to running successful businesses is to get that 30% of engaged staff up to 100%.  Working to the same vision of success, sharing values, building a world class culture and positive attitude.  When the team is behind you, you can achieve anything.

It is also key that anyone who isn’t interested in sharing the same journey needs to be coached to look at another career path. The best leaders will never be afraid to encourage people who don’t share the organisation’s goals to find a better place to work – for them.

Ordinary v. extraordinary

Most organisations recruit the best person they can find for the job.  They give them the induction training and may offer other training programmes to improve skills and knowledge, but then the individual is left to get on with it.

Sadly, too many companies don’t have a strategy for engaging and including their employees.  In fact, many companies don’t communicate their business goals beyond the senior team. When the goals, principles and values are not clearly communicated, the team on the production line or the customer service people who answer the phones don’t really understand the company’s direction and plans. Yet these are the very people who deliver the product that our customer touches, or the first person our customers speak to when they call.

Insufficient communication is the recipe for creating an ordinary company.  It doesn’t mean they won’t be successful, but they’re unlikely to move the needle and make a real impact.

The companies that stand out are ones where every employee, regardless of their level of seniority, understands why they are doing what they’re doing. They appreciate how it impacts on the company’s plans and they are invited to use their skills embrace their ability to really make a difference.

In my mind a good job is not just one where you get good pay and perks, it’s one where you are heard and can make a significant difference to the company’s success.  It is where every individual is inspired to use their skills to drive positive change. Motivation is very different to inspiration. Motivation is short term and typically a response to a short term incentives. Inspiration is a feeling of belonging to something bigger, feeling proud and excited to be sharing a journey to world class.

A quick look at what employees want from their employer lists recognition and appreciation, right at the top in most surveys.  Another item that ranks highly is clear expectations and goals.  Pay is in there, but it’s not heading the list.

Treat your people with respect and they will deliver extraordinary results.

The differentiating factor

What makes that critical difference?  It’s the leaders.

Inspirational leadership is all about leading from the front, being prepared to make tough decisions and support two-way communication. Creating an open culture of trust and honesty. Delegating authority and accountability is key to fully engaging the team members.

Setting up systems that allow every member of the team to contribute and keeping them in the picture about progress towards the company’s goals is all part of getting that all-important engagement.

An inspirational leader is interested in and trusts their team.  After all, if your people are an investment, you want them to generate dividends – and they’ll only do that if they’re invited and encouraged to be fully involved.

That’s why I step onto the platform – to influence leaders to become inspirational and take that step up from ordinary to extraordinary.

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