What business are you in?
Answers may include health, manufacturing, legal, finances, consulting, coaching, hospitality, retail, IT, electrical, teaching, construction, or perhaps real estate. There are many possible answers you would receive if you asked this question of a group of people.
But the real answer is not exactly any of these.
As a leader, the business you are truly in…is PEOPLE.
On a daily basis, you are in the business of working with people, developing people, and serving people.
This makes daily focus and decisions quite simple if you base them on one question:
“What is best for my people?”
Production – What should we produce?
If you ask what products or services best serve your people, you will have your answer. If you ask what product or service your team is equipped to provide, you will have your answer. Many entrepreneurs go into business trying to sell something they do, without really considering if it will serve people and fill a need. If what you do meets a need, then you simply have to connect with the right people.
Production is about people.
Engagements – What should be on the calendar?
Does the meeting you’re considering serve your team well or waste their time? Does the event you’ve planned serve your customers and clients – or are you doing it just because you’ve always done it? Is the call you have on your calendar geared toward helping the person on the line, or are you simply trying to sell them something they don’t really want or need? Do your engagements serve your people?
Engagements are about people.
Opportunities – Should we pursue this opportunity?
As a leader, you know opportunities abound. But to be an effective leader, you must discern what opportunities make sense for your team and your clients. You can take on so many opportunities that you overwhelm your team or dilute your client focus – either of which will have a direct and negative impact on your bottom line. To create a profitable business, stay focused on opportunities that serve your people well.
Opportunities are about people.
Problems – How do we solve this problem?
This is a question many are asking today in light of different world problems. How do you truly solve a problem? You get to the very root of it. The root of most problems is – as much as no one wants to admit it – people. Why did a certain part fail? It was a quality control issue – someone failed to test closely enough, someone missed a checkpoint, someone took a shortcut. Why is the company not reaching its goals? It is either an internal people problem or an external people problem, or a combination of the two. So if the problem is people, do you attack the people in order to solve the problem? No. You determine where the person failed and why, and you help them determine a way to re-define the outcome.
Problems are about people.
Location – Where should our offices be located…or relocated?
In recent decades, many companies have had to face location questions – stateside or abroad, this state or that state – and have based those decisions mainly on fiscal criteria. While this is certainly understandable, it may not always be the wisest choice. Moving for the sake of cost alone, as one company learned, resulted in a loss of workforce and a significant loss of customers. When considering a location, ask yourself where you can best serve your people – your team and your clients.
Location is about people.
Equipment – What tools are needed?
While this may not seem to be “people related,” it actually is very much so. Does your team have the tools they need to serve? Is the new software you’re considering one that actually makes sense for your team to use, or are you just trying to keep up with the proverbial Joneses? Do your tools and programs serve your customers well, or are you frustrating them? The goal is to provide your people with the tools that serve them best. It is not about your convenience. It is about theirs.
Equipment is about people.
As a business leader, you are really a people leader. Leading people is one of the biggest challenges leaders face. You can lessen the challenge by simply asking, “What is best for my people?”
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.