Organizations today face unparalleled pressures and challenges—from balancing the needs of customers and shareholders to combating new and evolving competitive forces to anticipating and planning for an uncertain future by ensuring a never-ending flow of innovations and improvements. It’s an exhausting 24/7 effort that can leave many organizations—and the individuals within them—depleted.
Yet despite the punishing conditions, some organizations thrive. Their employees remain energized and effective in the face of initiatives and tasks that are daunting to others. What accounts for the difference? Why are some organizations propelled forward while others stall?
It all comes down to what powers the organization. Those that have the horsepower to consistently excel—lap after lap—and overtake the competition share a special FUEL.
Given the volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous and fast-paced nature of today’s workplace, everyone must work as efficiently and effectively as possible. This means knowing specifically what to do and how to do it. Well-defined expectations are the first step. But ongoing, candid dialogue—day in and day out—about performance and results is the key to keeping individuals and teams focused and achieving results.
Understanding what’s important
Large (some might say unmanageable) spans of control. Remote working arrangements. Contingent workforces. Globalization. Round-the-clock operations. This is the landscape that leaders must navigate today. Managers no longer have the luxury of being present with those who report to them, guiding their efforts, giving moment-by-moment instructions. As a result, organizations that thrive cultivate a culture of transparency. They freely share information about strategy and priorities. They practice open-book management so that employees always have the context they need to make the best decisions possible given what’s most important to the business.
Thriving today is no guarantee of survival tomorrow. Exceptional organizations appreciate the uncertain nature of the future—but are not immobilized by it. They create an environment that encourages risk-taking. They actively enable prototyping and other vehicles that quickly expand the pool of possibilities. They reframe failure as learning and find ways to cut through red tape so that good ideas can quickly gain traction and momentum.
One of the most powerful fuel sources for many of today’s most exceptional organizations is an authentic and perpetual commitment to evolving the skills and knowledge of all workers. These organizations recognize that their only sustainable competitive advantage is their people. And they invest accordingly, supporting and enabling each individual’s learn-gevity.
In today’s business environment, only the most energized organizations and individuals will be prepared to power forward toward that ever-moving finish line. And the key to high quality results is high-quality FUEL (in the form of feedback, an understanding what’s most important, and a culture of experimentation and learning).