The venerable Dhirubhai Ambani had famously said, “Growth is Life” and it accurately summarizes the state-of-being for all businesses – small and big.
What sets an ambitious business apart from others is the aspiration to grow, the hunger to fly higher, the desire to push the limits and go where no one has dared to go (or at least, where your competitors haven’t thought of going… yet).
The instinctive step we all take during growth-planning is to jump into strategy and run permutations and combinations of various scenarios to see if it all ‘adds up’.
One of the key factors that is often missed out is the Employees and the role they will play in translating the ‘Strategy’ into ‘Reality’.
Why the employees, one might ask, and the answer is that no General, however great he may be, has won a war without reliable and motivated foot soldiers.
And just like in an army, your employees are the most crucial element for the success of your business.
Just recently I encountered a scenario where a business owner wanted to expand his sales team as the lone sales executive wasn’t able to push sales to the desired level. The natural thing to do here is to hire a resource to add muscle to sales team.
The resistance to this came from unexpected quarters – the existing sales executive.
This employee has been with the company for 10 years and even though he is an expert in the company’s products and offering, he felt threatened by the prospective of having a ‘competitor’. The questions going through his mind were: “What if this new person is better than me?”, “What if the salary offered to him is equivalent to mine?”, “What if this person generates more sales than me?”, “Is my job secure with this new person coming in?”
Though these questions may seem immature at first glance, they are of grave significance for this employee and question his very existence in the organisation. If left unanswered, these can have a ripple effect on the motivation and productivity of this tenured employee and that in turn, will have an impact on the company’s revenue.
So, how should this situation be approached? What is the right way to strike a balance between the existing and welcoming the new? How do we ensure a win-win situation for all?
And the answer to it all is by making this person a partner in your growth and making him realize how his experience and tenure are crucial in the company’s quest for growth.
In the situation at hand, the business owner and I made this employee a part of all recruitment related discussions – creating the Minimum Skills Requirement & Job Description. Furthermore, he was also designated as a supervisor with the new employee reporting into him. And to ensure accountability on his part too, he was made responsible for the training and eventual performance of the new hire.
Once the company started receiving job applications, this employee became a member of the interview panel.
The outcome of this all has been incredible. Not only has this person become enthusiastic about the recruitment, he has started to realize how important a role he plays in the overall scheme of things.
He has been very open to share feedback on the candidates he has interviewed – how some of them have excellent qualities (even better than him) and also if the candidates can add value to the company.
If igniting the passion in one employee by making him a partner in the growth can change his entire thought process, imagine what will happen when the passion is triggered in the entire workforce.