Unleashing People Potential

Yesterday Ted Coine gave us a compelling reason for tapping into our idealism. It’s a belief and frame of reference essential to a better way to do business in the 21st century.

At the heart of Ted’s point, in my opinion, is a dramatic shift in how companies view their workforce. The shift in view is from “bodies that produce an input to benefit the company” to “unleash people potential to grow them and the business.”

There’s a nuance between the two and it’s rooted in how managers view their relationship with employees.

“Bodies who produce an input” View
This outdated view treats employees as replaceable cogs in a machine. Interest in employees dreams, hidden talents, even their personal stories are irrelevant. The thought, “we’re not here to help employees self-actualize” is cemented in how decisions are made in the company. Myopic decisions are made focusing on what affects the bottom line. It’s profit over people.

A rampant disregard for inviting employees to help solve wicked problems is common and too often seen as time intensive. Instead, a swifter course of action is preferred: reduce the workforce to make the numbers look appealing to shareholders.

An illusion of invulnerability is often present in these companies. Short term thinking prevails and employees are moved around as if nameless, faceless.

“Unleash potential in people” View
New Era Leaders reject the notion that people are secondary to the company’s profit. It’s not that profit isn’t important. Obviously it is. In this new era, companies who help unleash people potential first understand that profit follows.

  • To unleash people potential managers invite employees to create.
  • They make it a priority to help their employees delight customers.
  • They create work environments that unleash talent.
  • Unleashing people potential isn’t some “soft” notion. It’s a strategy.
  • Unleashing people potential is a competitive advantage.

In today’s workforce where knowledge is king and is key to majority of companies’ strategies, a shift in how the relationship with employees is viewed is critical. It can’t be an agenda item shuffled from day to day, year to year.

Companies who want to thrive in this new era will make the shift now.

Change Leader | Speaker | Writer Co-founder and CEO of Switch and Shift. Passionately explores the space where business & humanity intersect. Promoter of workplace optimism. Believes work can be a source of joy. Top ranked leadership blogger by Huffington Post. The Optimistic Workplace (AMACOM) out 2015

  • Shawn, two words: nailed it. You summed up my point better than I could, and you expounded on it to make it your own. It is this synergy that brought us together in the first place to found our co-blog. Bravo!

  • So very well said. Nick Bontis starting talking about the astounding amount of untapped potential in organizations 15 years ago and it is still an pretty big issues. When CEO’s wonder why so many of their employees are planning to move elsewhere they might ponder this fact.

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    There’s a more human way to do business.

    In the Social Age, it’s how we engage with customers, collaborators and strategic partners that matters; it’s how we create workplace optimism that sets us apart; it’s how we recruit, retain (and repel) employees that becomes our differentiator. This isn’t a “people first, profits second” movement, but a “profits as a direct result of putting people first” movement.

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