One of the things we have enjoyed most about consulting with progressive organizations is all of the time we get to spend in different team environments. We like to go where the positive action is, where there is a thriving business that’s interested in further developing its people. We also see desperate organizations trying to make deposits with people where it is clear that too much has already be withdrawn.
Every organization and team is different, and it’s always interesting to see the contrasts between them. The most striking aspect about successful organizations is their relative similarity. In other words, what works in one place usually works in another. Successful organizations all seem to operate on a similar frequency, regardless of the type of business they are in. I think that this is the vibration that occurs when a truly capable leader leads an organization. It just feels right.
The contrary is true too. An office or organization that does not perform seems to have a certain personality too. I have become so sensitive to these vibrations (for lack of a more descriptive word) that it has almost come to the point where I believe I could tell you whether a certain office or operation was a successful one just by the feel of it, even without meeting any of the people who make up the organization or seeing any kind of results.
Over our travels and many meetings with business people all over the map, we have come to three key realizations about how high-performance individuals pace organizational performance.
Intelligent effort is always rewarded. When good people with good intentions do their best at something, it is always going to succeed. It may be sooner or it may be later, but success is on its way.
A leader can actually create an atmosphere that compels performance. Over time, top leaders are able create a place where people will come to be excellent. That place can be an office, a department, a division or a whole company. Leaders are thermostats, not thermometers.
The power of the individual will always prevail. What we mean by this is that success or failure will always come down to a personal decision. Even in the worst of circumstances there are people who will succeed. You will also find people who have been given every possible advantage who still fail to even approach their real potential. The essence of the individual transcends leadership and circumstance.
What a leader can do is provide a place where excellence can happen. The leader can create momentum and provide a positive example of success. The leader can set a compelling expectation of results and performance. Even with all of this, the ultimate decision about performance and success lies with the individual.