If you’re an Olympian, yes – this works – because the goal (aka medal) is the only thing that matters. It wont necessarily be the most successful approach if the best outcome is a little more complicated, which is perhaps the case for business leaders.
For Olympians and athletes in general, the point of training is to be the best at your sport and win medals. The targets associated with running a business successfully, however, vary greatly – it isn’t just to announce you’re ‘the best’. And there isn’t usually a trophy. There are many targets you may want to set, meet and exceed; financially and otherwise. You want to train and retain a good workforce for the long term for one, and you want to treat your suppliers, clients and customers in such a way that they remain loyal and consistent.
Putting everything into one resounding target won’t work. Companies are made up of so many different people with different responsibilities. As such, they need different targets; not just one overarching goal. Incentivising your staff to meet their targets and goals (after they’ve been set) can be tough though. Bonuses and financial perks are often pointless – there is minimal proof to suggest they make people work harder or even better. They can actually be destructive and a distraction.
At Kentish and Co, we believe having a skilled and talented workforce is the most important for success, although we also believe it’s what you do with your talent that is critical when it comes to things like succession planning, productivity levels and staff wellbeing. People will stay in one job if they’re happy. Generally, people want to move on to gain new skills or embark on a career change because they’re unhappy. If your people are content and continuously learning, developing and being rewarded for their efforts, they won’t want to leave and their loyalty will deepen – positively impacting the business and the culture of your organisation. Not to mention helping them reach their personal and business goals.
All individuals should appreciate and understand the power self-development will have on increasing life and career opportunities. For an employer, it is first and foremost crucial that you hire people whose behaviour and attitudes are in line with the value of the company. Without this, you can’t get far. You should hire curious people, who are capable of picking up new skills whilst working. Companies who invest in their people in order to enhance their talent pipeline and increase staff retention are always going to be the most successful.
It’s all about driving change in attitudes. As people development experts, we work closely with in-house teams, across all departments and sectors, to find out what is needed for both employer and employee to get the most out of their working lives. We want to encourage a holistic approach to learning and development within organisations and help staff feel comfortable approaching their employers about the matter.
If you want business success you have to invest in it, which comes down to the people who make up the organisation – better them and you better the company. Do set goals, just tailor them to each individual. They can be as ambitious as you like – just make sure your people are equipped to meet them. It’s down to the employer to make this possible.
David is a director and co-founder of Kentish and Co, the people development experts.
Working with clients internationally to understand and identify their problems, David and the team develop solutions to fix the problem, making that fix stick and measuring the agreed outcomes. Throughout the whole process he provides support by getting under the skin of the client’s business.With a background in the advertising industry and having worked at board level for many years, David understands how important it is not just to get your message across, but to make it understood clearly by everyone. He is also a Certified Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming.