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    8 Replies Latest reply on Jan 20, 2010 10:01 PM by DebbyBlitzLoc

    It's People, Stupid

    SmBizConsult Newbie
      If the answer is, "It's People, Stupid," what's the question?

      What is the one most important Critical Success Factor for an organization to achieve success?

      Much has been written about business management from
      Management to Strategy; most focused on creating or adding value. Technology is seen, all too often, as a
      panacea; put technology in place, outsource your people and value will
      increase. Operations has become a study
      in efficiency and automation. Marketing
      is a numbers-heuristic. Accounting is
      about precision while Finance is about maximizing shareholder value. And so on.
      Each professes to ‘have the answer,' but what is the question?

      Early in my career (early 1970's) my mentor said, multiple
      times, "regardless of what the client tells you, it's always a people
      problem." Thirty-four years of
      consulting interventions later, I finally believe him. To wit:
      • If the \\ machinery in the plant was constantly down for maintenance, he said it was \\ the people responsible who were the problem, not the equipment;
      • If \\ profits were declining, he would say it wasn't the market; \\ it was the people of the organization and in Sales and Marketing who \\ didn't read the market \\ correctly, or at all; or
      • If the \\ newest technological whiz-bang wasn't meeting its expectation; it was the \\ people who over promised results, under installed, or didn't train \\ adequately.
      You get it don't you?
      If only the people had done their jobs ... but, for some reason, they
      didn't. This was in the early 1970's,
      but it holds true today. *+Yet, one
      defining difference between that era and today is that, at least then,
      employees were valued, not a commodity to be re-engineered, right-sized,
      laid-off, fired or outsourced.+ *

      How did we get to the place where we think the answer is _something
      or anything else than this_? My
      contention is that it's driven by our need to find a ‘quick solution,' an
      expediency of sorts or to sweep it under the rug. We, as managers, don't like problems of any
      sort. But people problems are more
      puzzling and distressing. "Make this people thingy go away; they're too hard to
      figure out and to manage. Give me a
      solution, ‘cause I have another problem to fix (or another windmill to joust)."

      But, management du'jour doesn't cut it anymore. The latest fad or business book doesn't do
      it. Ropes courses won't fix your
      problems, nor will fish markets. People, armed with knowledge and encouraged
      to meet or exceed expectations, treated with respect will do it for you.

      Two fundamental precepts:
      1. Your \\ people are the only asset you have; and
      2. Treat \\ them as you would like to be treated.
      A simple formula for success, to be sure, but difficult to
      pull-off. Just a thought, though. And, maybe one worth some additional reading.

      If you think it's a bunch of B/S, go back to your Blackberry
      or laptop, treat your people without respect, downsize them or outsource them,
      and, then, see what you've got.

      But if you feel that perhaps the two fundamental precepts above ‘resonate' with
      you, let's collective explore how to proceed.

      If your question, then, is:
      • How do \\ I raise shareholder value?
      • How do \\ I increase sales and margins?
      • How do \\ I increase market share?
      • How do \\ I keep up with changing technology?
      • How do \\ I _____________________________________ (fill-in-the-blank based on your \\ current needs or experiences).
      The answer is, "it's people, stupid."

      The formula then is: *People,
      armed with knowledge and encouraged to meet or exceed expectations, treated
      with respect will do it for you*.


      Comments are welcome.
        • Re: It's People, Stupid
          DealMaker Newbie

          Well put! After living by the same philosophies you put forth in your letter, I have to say that I am very proud of our company and what we have grown into. We are well respected in the community and in the new markets we have been moving into. I treat all my staff employees and independant contractors with the same respect as I would with my clients, teachers, mentors, spouse will never fail to return tenfold. Thanks again for the letter.
            • Re: It's People, Stupid
              SmBizConsult Newbie
              Glad to hear it's working for you.

              It is interesting that the one investment most business owners can make to ensure success is one of the least expensive and easiest to do. People/employees want to work and want to do a good job, when they feel appreciated and are rewarded (monetarily and otherwise).

              Thanks for your testimonial.
            • Re: It's People, Stupid
              whirlwind3 Wayfarer

              Very nice and so true! Thanks... It definitely applies to my practice. Thanks for putting my approach thus far into a mathmatical equation: (people+knowledge)(encouragement)+respect=success
              • Re: It's People, Stupid
                DomainDiva Ranger
                Interesting post, could also be called Moral Intelligence. I agree that people are most important and that they should be treated the way we as managers and company officers want to be treated.

                However the underlying anger seems to make the advice seem trite. Perhaps it's the use of the word 'stupid' in the title. A word I really dislike and refuse to use when dealing with other people. Since you seem to be giving the answer to the forum I don't appreciate being assumed to be 'stupid'. So the use of the word 'stupid' has me really put off. If I was hiring you to help me solve problems perhaps I may be upset at being called 'stupid' right out of the gate.
                • Re: It's People, Stupid
                  intechspecial Ranger
                  The head of this article really caught my eye.

                  I was expecting a sarcastic placement, but really this should be the standard and not the exception.

                  Unfortunately it is not.
                  • Re: It's People, Stupid
                    DebbyBlitzLoc Adventurer
                    This is a great post! Everyone can benefit from this kind of reminder! In today's society the value we put on technology often seems to replace the value we once gave to our employees and associates as well as customers.

                    The economy is forcing many of us to evaluate our priorities and get back to basics. This should definately be included in the basics!