July 21, 2017 | David Mysona
Leading a High Performance Organization: An Important Question to Ask Yourself as a Leader
In my 25+ years as a leader and the CEO of Blackstone Technology Group, I’ve come across many opinions, thoughts and ideas as to how to best manage teams, build company culture and grow the bottom line. Despite the mounting pressures of financial obligations and revenue targets, a business’ success comes down to its employees. The single question I find most important and fundamental to understanding and improving an organization’s health has to do with people, and their satisfaction and perceived value in their role.
As a leader, do you ask yourself how your employees feel at the end of the day? Do they feel appreciated and believe they are part of something larger and rewarding? Are your employees motivated and eager to come to work in the morning to best serve customers or clients, and more importantly, their employer?
While this may sound touchy-feely to those who lead by fear and old school ways, what I’ve come to realize throughout my career is that no amount of fear, money or promotion can take the place of human feelings and emotions.
Asking your employees how they feel about their job can be a difficult endeavor for a leader’s ego, but the benefits of authenticity and honest dialogue need to outweigh the fear of a potentially negative response.
In 2016, new leadership of Blackstone’s Federal Division took a creative approach to managing by asking themselves how they felt at the end of their work day, in addition to posing the same questions to their employees. The leadership team explored how the Division could be better aligned to the client’s mission and strategic goals, achieve its financial targets and still feel incredibly satisfied by the type and quality of work being produced and the energy around its delivery. They asked and answered some very difficult questions, but were rewarded with meaningful and productive results.
Based on the outcome of these conversations, Blackstone Federal saw an opportunity for realignment and acted quickly to produce a positive change and creative rebirth within the organization. Employees felt like their opinions mattered and consequently, motivated and encouraged to bring their creativity to life and showcase their talents outside of their current workload, without any demand for doing so. By staying true to their mission yet expanding upon the traditional methods of achieving objectives, the Federal team produced its best work benefiting both the client and company revenue. In essence, they reinvigorated a thriving culture that has competitors confounded and envious, and clients thrilled.
It should be no surprise that humans are in constant search for connection and the desire to feel valued and fulfilled in all aspects of their life – and the workplace is no exception. Our basic need for interconnectedness harkens back to the Paleolithic days when meaningful participation and the feeling of being valued by others was essential for survival
So if there’s one question that leaders should be asking themselves to improve their business, it’s this: how do my employees feel at the end of the day, and what am I going to do about that?