By Leslie Boomer
It’s June - time again for the Snow & Ice Symposium, where many who are in the snow business gather to network, learn, have some fun, and hopefully gain some inspiration and focus for their businesses. This is a great time to think about what you’ll invest in this year to aid in planning your budgets, setting goals, and preparing for the coming season.
So what is your focus? Are you considering an investment in new equipment, software for financial management, estimating programs, or contact management programs? All of these are important and support efforts to build business capital. But how about investing in an intentional plan for leadership, management and employee development to build human capital?
Leadership and employee development are foundational to sustained business success but are often put on the back burner because of what may appear to be more urgent business concerns, such as maintaining equipment or upgrading software. There is discussion about the importance of leadership development, but often not much action is taken to invest in it. I hope this article will persuade some potentially great leaders to look at spending some time and money on the foundations of their businesses to build human capital.
When I hear the word foundation, I can’t help but think about the last house we lived in. It was a great home in which many productive and happy years were lived; yet, there were issues with the foundation that kept creeping up, creating problems that had to be repaired over and over again. Issues that, if left unattended, would have led to a serious compromise in the stability of the structure. As a result, we put a lot of time and money into repairing problems that would not have occurred if the foundation had been a higher priority for the builder. Rather than investing the time and materials into building it right, he shortchanged the foundation.
Building a business is really no different. If the foundation isn’t solid, it’s possible that growth and success may happen, but not without ongoing and costly repairs.
A better way
Decades of research and experience show that leaders who “get” their people - who understand and care about relationships and how to manage them respectfully - have greater success for the long term. What do these leaders know that the others don’t? They have learned to employ management strategies that build on the innate strength of their employees. The end result is a more vibrant culture and the creation of a team of people who are dedicated and invested in your company. When employees feel understood and respected, they are more likely to be engaged, to produce quality work, and to focus on customer satisfaction. High performance, productivity and customer satisfaction equal sustainable success. If all of this is true, then why is spending time and money on leadership and employee development often the last investment owners make?
Fear of change
Leadership and employee development require change. Much like postponing the new exercise schedule or healthy eating program we know we need, changing workplace behavior may seem too challenging and is easier delayed until next year. In addition, changing how we do things requires more than just an investment of hard-earned money. It requires the admission that personal change is needed, and that without it, the organization’s growth will be impeded. It’s not that we don’t know what we need to do; it’s more of a reluctance to invest in the support and resources we’ll need to help us do it.
There are as many ways to invest in leadership management and employee development as there are excuses not to do it. But research shows that focusing on building more positive workplace relationships yields better long-term results for success. When you invest in a training program that builds on what you already do well and provide ongoing coaching and support, the transformation will not be painful - quite the contrary. You’ll be surprised at how energizing this type of change can be for everyone in your organization.
There is no time like the present to focus on the foundation of your business. Invest in building human capital for long-term success. Encourage and empower your workforce while you create positive momentum for the upcoming season. Focus on leadership and employee development. It is the best investment you can make for a solid foundation on which to grow your organization!
Leslie Boomer is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach with Pro-Motion Consulting. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.