Does a great business attract great people, or do great people make the business?


As a business leader do you firstly employ the right people who then shape the company and its success? Or do you firstly identify what you set out to be, and achieve this through the people you go on to hire..?

I believe that hiring the right people is critically important to achieving your business aims, but where and what is your start point?Jigsaw (IV)

What you do to hire, motivate and retain the right people for your business doesn’t start with the job description and a set of interview questions, it starts with three core pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, around which everything else fits.

1.     Being clear about your VISION for your organisation. Knowing where you are headed and why.

Clearly and simply describe what you aim to achieve, maybe not today, but what you strive to be and achieve. Whether it’s to have the best coffee shop in your town, or to build an internationally known brand of coffee shops; have a vision. This is what you should always come back to.  Is what I am doing today and planning to do tomorrow helping my organisation achieve its vision?

Organisations that are clear about their purpose and can articulate it clearly are more focused and efficient in their business practices and are more likely to progress and achieve than those who remain woolly about their future.  Having this clarity sets the goal that all your people aim for.  To be able to get behind the company’s vision helps your people understand what they are doing in your business, and why they are there. For many people what your vision is will be the deciding factor for whether they want to work for you.

2.     But achieving your vision doesn’t just happen. It is no good having a vision if you leave its achievement to chance.

 Ensure you have clear strategic and operational OBJECTIVES aligned to your vision.  Have the short and longer term plans in place that take you those steps closer to achieving what you ultimately aim to achieve with your business.

As well as providing day to day and perhaps year to year clarity about what you need to be achieving as a business, this provides a clearer more immediate resonance for your people too.  They start to get a more hands on feel for what they do, how it fits into the company’s plans, what they contribute to achieving in a big or a small way; it provides purpose for their being there.

3.    But what about the ‘softer’ side to your business strategy? It cannot be all about what you do.  It’s also the VALUES you hold as a business.  The ethics, principles and behaviours that underline your interaction as a company with your clients, partners, staff and other stakeholders, are as important as what you do. This underlines your brand and reputation externally and should define your culture internally.

If the culture pervading your company is at odds with your stated values how can you, for instance, expect to deliver those values in the way that you engage with your clients? How often do companies state they have great values (it looks good on the branding doesn’t it), but look inside and you find the culture and practices driving and supporting that doesn’t reflect the same.  All too soon that leaks out in the way your customers are handled, business opportunities are sought and how the business you already have is looked after.

So when you think about your values, think too about how that works inside your business.  Ensure that you create the environment for your staff that gives them the support, encouragement, freedom and guidance that works both for your business and for them.

If you have these three puzzle pieces in place then you are in the right place to find the right people who share your vision, have the skills and/or potential to meet your goals, who can go on to help shape them further, and who share your values and ethics.

To come, part 2: Shaping and defining your people strategy.