When business is good, revenues are growing, and profits are sufficient, everyone seems to get along excellently. However, these outcomes may not be the result of a good team, and you may not be achieving peak performance. As the economy seems destined for recession in 2008, how strong your team really is will become more apparent. This is because the true strength and character of a team are most clear when business conditions become difficult. This article identifies the two key factors in achieving peak performance in any type of organization.
For simplicity throughout the rest of this article, when I refer to partnerships I am referring to any ownership group, partnership, or executive team. As an Executive Coach I work with partnerships to either counteract challenging times or take their businesses to the next level.
A business’s success is rooted in the culture created by its owners. This culture is founded upon the core values established, promoted, and demonstrated by its owners. I have found that if a partnership is missing two core values, the organization underperforms its potential, which may lead to outright business failure and/or separation of the partners. These two core values are trust and respect.
I am amazed how many people are in business with people they do not trust 100%. Worse, people are promoted into partnership after demonstrating to their employers over many years that they are not to be totally trusted. This is justified by a person’s skills, who they know, how much business they have brought in, and so on.
I recommend that an unconditional core value of partnership must be Trust. If you are going to enter into a partnership, ask the following questions:
If the answer is not yes to all the above questions, you have a partnership that is on a weak foundation, and when the going get’s tough you may have trouble keeping things together. A partnership without unconditional trust has excess conflict, extra bureaucracy, and typically requires more paperwork. Mistrust amongst leadership is like cancer as it spreads throughout the rest of your organization.
While trust is an issue in many partnerships, I find that respect is the most violated. As an element of business planning, I help organizations identify and define their core values. I am relieved to report that many of the companies I have worked with have chosen “respect” as a core value. Interestingly, the leaders of these organizations have trouble articulating the definition of respect. This is usually caused by the fact that there is a gap between the ultimate definition and what is currently going on in the organization.
The reality is that respect is a difficult value to implement. I think there are really two primary reasons:
Here is a test to see how well you are at acting with respect:
The real challenge is that these are values that must be managed like your income statements and balance sheets; daily. Most of us have hundreds of interactions daily which provide many opportunities to earn or lose trust and respect.
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