If you want to change something in your company, you start with single-minded attention and promotion. The same applies when trying to replicate more of a good thing. Successful companies, in the constant pursuit of well-rounded teams, look for and find the intangibles that help drive performance.
Here are three unconventional yet important and under-recognized keys to sustained success:
Thinking and problem solving.
Are you recognizing independent thinking and problem solving? Great companies have an ability to both retain and promote the right people. They put into action a development plan that instills the right qualities they want in all their current and future leaders. Independent thinking and problem solving are sought-after qualities all companies seek in their leadership teams, yet are often under-coached. In fact, in some organizations, top performers rise rapidly through the ranks without any real challenge to their cognitive abilities.
Most successful companies are successful because they have a program that works. They have developed, through years of refinement, a system of doing things all new hires are plugged into. While this is a great way to replicate success, it can sometimes have the unintended consequence of stifling creativity. Leaders spoon feed their teams the "answers" instead of challenging them to discover them on their own. The result: By the time someone reaches the executive suite, their independent thinking and problem solving skills have never truly been put to the test.
In developing your leadership team, you should seek out opportunities to publicly recognize individuals for their originality and ability to find unique solutions to problems. By praising this behavior, you're shining a spotlight on attributes you desire, greatly increasing the likelihood of replication.
Personal and professional growth.
Are you recognizing personal, not just professional, growth? One of the more challenging tasks leaders and entrepreneurs face today is the struggle to compartmentalize all aspects of life. However, it's far more common than not that the line separating personal and professional lives will become blurred. For long-term sustained success, assembling leadership teams comprised of individuals who are content on both fronts is paramount. If someone isn't happy outside the office, eventually that will cross over into the work place.
Smart businesses take every opportunity to acknowledge and recognize life skills that translate to success in and out of the office. For instance, they applaud and encourage employees who read about or enroll in courses or seminars designed to further develop life skills such as goal setting, overcoming obstacles and facing fears. These are skills that can have huge positive ramifications for success in all arenas, including one's career.
Related: What Company Culture Is Really About
Another less obvious -- yet impactful -- area to promote and recognize is your team's pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. Employees who exercise, eat right and otherwise maintain a healthy lifestyle are bound to be happier and more productive employees, too.
Are you recognizing your rock steady performers? The rock stars on your team who land the "whales" and lead the most profitable business units probably don't lack in the recognition category. However, the steady, unflappable performer you can depend upon like the sunrise or sunset may often go unnoticed. Their steadiness doesn't command attention in the moment; only when examined in its totality does it stand out.
Recently, it was brought to my attention that a team member who has been with us for years has never missed a day of work. This rock solid performer's reliability has had a huge impact on the team's consistency. For too long, we've missed opportunities to shine a spotlight on an under-looked, but not undervalued element of success.
All business is results-oriented. As a consequence, business strategy too often focuses solely on financials and quarter-to-quarter progress. In defining your company's less overt drivers and recognizing those who lead in those categories, you can create more of a good thing.