Jonathan MacDonald People Powered By Change Powered By Change

The People Blade

The second blade of the Windmill Theory within Powered By Change (PBC) is the People Blade. Although the blades are not sequential, but rather, inter-related and interoperable, it makes sense that once the company’s purpose has been identified, the right team of people are in place to be able to execute this through the creation of resonant products and supportive processes. This enables the entire windmill, and indeed the company, to operate optimally. 

There appears to be an almost universal mantra espoused by many organisations that its people are its greatest and most important asset. It is frequently used for PR and marketing purposes so much so that it is becoming quite literally meaningless. Sadly the reality appears to be the proposition people are the most important asset is more lip-service than what actually occurs. There are numerous examples of dubious employment practices, zero-hour contracts, forced workplace agreements, minimum and living wage bands, broken supply chains, employment contracts heavily weighted in favour of employers that contradict the idea of people being the most important asset. In fact, there is a lack of investment and underinvestment in people. One particular first-hand experience was an instance I witnessed where an employee was told the company was not going to pay for a course they needed for their role. The justification given was that the only reason they’d need the qualification was if they were going for a job with another company. This is in stark contrast to the company’s tagline of putting people first. Indeed it is a contradiction in terms that people are even referred to as human ‘resources’. This terminology inherently implies that people are essentially no different from any other organisational asset. 

It is important to define what is actually meant by people and the underlying premise of the People blade. Within PBC, people are not relegated to simply being an exploitable commodity. Likewise, the People blade is not focused on how an organisational chart should be structured or what ‘roles’ are needed. Rather, it goes much deeper than this superficial overture. The People blade is really about the mindset, attitude or behaviour and curiosity of team members to innovate and adapt to change. It underlies the fundamental essence or fabric of how decisions are made that either lead to success or failure. 

To this end, the definition of people that we are talking about is around how the purpose of the leaders, managers and team members who make decisions that cumulatively dictate whether the company thrives and survives or dies in a time of perpetual change is held together. It is about the management, mindset and moulding of those people together around purpose and how they interact with the resonant purpose in the organisation and thereby become more profitable, effective and efficient. It’s super important. 

The Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors have identified the key reasons for businesses going bankrupt. The distributions are:

  • 52% are due to internal issues, specifically management decisions 
  • 15% occur due to external triggers 
  • 24% arise due to internal and external factors that management don’t do anything about
  • 1% occur due to bad luck and 
  • 8% are due to things completely outside the company’s control.       

The fact that over ¾ of bankruptcies are attributable to management decisions, or lack thereof, illustrates the importance of ensuring the People blade is operating effectively. This is paramount to ensuring perpetual success, particularly in the face of change. In fact, having the right people in place ultimately determines the company’s ability to respond to change. If a company can create an effective People blade, with the right team in place it is possible to create resonant products and develop effective processes that lead to improvements in the bottom-line. 

If the People blade is under-performant, this leads to issues with productivity. This occurs as a result of a number of factors, including: 

  • Having the wrong people in place
  • Lack of leadership
  • Misalignment between skill and will
  • Little alignment to purpose and
  • Limited or no innovation.

The culmination of one or more of these issues is reduced revenue and profitability. 

Within the People blade, there are three sub-blades which are complementary and equally important. These are:

  1. Skill and Will – identifying whether the company has team members with the ability and willingness to execute the company’s purpose. 
  2. Productive Paranoia – understanding what could fundamentally disrupt the company.
  3. The Paradox of Exploitation and Exploration – ensuring the company is innovating whilst continuing to exploit existing assets.

For the People blade to be truly effective all three sub-blades need to be considered. 

Remember that change is the only constant, and the difference between success and failure lies in our response to change. Therefore, it is essential the right people are at the helm with the curiosity, desire and willingness to embrace change rather than resist it. Right now this is more important than ever as the global economy is transcending into continually changing unchartered waters. As the winds of change are blowing right now there has never been a better time to embrace them. However, this requires that the People blade is optimised to be able to leverage these changes to identify and capitalise on the opportunities presented. The PBC solution provides the necessary tools to ensure this is achieved. 

Key Takeaways:

  1. The People blade is about the mindset, attitude or behaviour and curiosity of team members to innovate and adapt to change.
  2. Over ¾ of bankruptcies are attributable to management decisions, or lack thereof, which illustrates the importance of ensuring the People blade is operating effectively.
  3. it is essential the right people are at the helm with the curiosity, desire and willingness to embrace change rather than resist it. 

For more information on how the PBC solution can help your business feel free to get in touch, we would love to talk with you, at:

info@poweredbychange.com

me@jonathanmacdonald.com

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