“There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow.” –Jack Welch
A key characteristic of winning sales cultures is operational excellence, and the foundation for this strategic advantage lies with the sense of ownership by employees. To be clear, the ownership I speak of is not about employees necessarily owning a part of the business, rather it’s about creating a culture that takes engagement to a whole new level.
Let me explain – When people have a sense of ownership, the success of the business becomes a passion and a personal matter. That is, their hearts and minds are invested in the most favorable outcomes for the firm. To that end, these folks are empowered and have a bias for taking action that will drive positive results. With this mindset, opportunities and challenges are addressed in the most expeditious and effective manner. In this environment, people feel a personal stake in business matters. With a sense of urgency, employees will proactively bring challenges and potential solutions to the table; they will initiate collaborative discussions with management. Note that this differs markedly with the traditional boss/subordinate relationship where the supervisor initiates employee interactions in a more directive approach.
So, here’s one of those million dollar questions: How do we create an environment where there is a sense of ownership by the employee? Answer: It begins with hiring the right people and treating them like family. Next, it’s about and creating the kind of culture in which the seeds of ownership and empowerment are planted to grow and thrive. That is, employee ownership does not exist in a vacuum and will flourish only in the right overall setting. It’s an atmosphere that looks something like this:
- Singleness of purpose, along with an ingrained value system focused on people, customers, shareowners, integrity, and quality.
- Shared identity and reputation for high performance; individual accomplishments are recognized and appropriately rewarded; however, overall team accomplishments reign supreme. Accountability for the pursuit of excellence is pervasive and fueled by innovation, collaboration, and sharing of best practices.
- Employee coaching, development, and support is a top priority; a business commitment to help people be the best they can be and to care about them as individuals.
- Open, honest, two-way, and transparent communication between leadership and employees.
- Mutual respect, loyalty, and trust; empowerment to do the right thing for the customer.
- Commitment to diversity and inclusion; differing opinions and experiences create a strategic advantage for unique insights in solving complex business problems.
- Leadership at all levels and throughout the organization.
You will find that these previously described cultural features are complementary and interdependent. This is a cultural framework which requires a clear vision and strategic plan, along with solid and consistent execution. And, of course, it doesn’t happen overnight. Creating a setting where people feel personally invested in something that is special and bigger than themselves is no easy task. Nevertheless, the benefits are immense. Leadership’s clear vision and abiding commitment to bring this culture to life are requisite, as it will require a diligent focus on organizational alignment, accountability, and consistency.
In summary, operational excellence is a key characteristic for a competitive, customer focused enterprise. Accordingly, in winning sales cultures, enlightened leadership will understand that an environment which supports and encourages employee ownership is the foundation to enable the fulfillment of that goal.
Do you want to increase your sales team’s operational effectiveness to drive revenue growth in your business? If so, we can help you with that. On a brief phone call, I can share some proven strategies used as an AT&T executive to generate hundreds of millions of dollars. Call us at 281-817-7391, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org