‘Our people are our most important asset’ is a common offhand statement in business. I have first-hand experience of this, in my 16-year career at Chase, and I often find myself thinking that this should go a step further.
Having been mentored by the co-founders at Chase, Alan Borain and Peter Joughin, I’ve noticed how the ethos of growing people has had incredible effect on the business. And this has in turn become a de facto strategy for the business as a whole. And I’m incredibly grateful for this, both for the impact on my career, my person and the way in which we now run the business.
So how does one achieve people through results?
- Know the results you’re targeting – undefined and wishy-washy strategies scupper business efforts. Have a forecast and define goals that support this as a broader business.
- Break down the responsibilities as you move down the chain of responsibility – we find staff want to know exactly what to deliver and by when.
- More importantly, staff need autonomy with guidance and trust – a simple rule on this is that people want to be entrusted to achieve a task, but need help when they may be going wrong.
- Ensure you mentor your staff as they grow – we take great pride in our mentorship program at Chase. We put in a lot of effort on giving all staff the opportunity to get mentored by a non-line manager. This enables staff to speak candidly in a non-threatening environment about their career path, work struggles and personal struggles.
- Accept that staff can outgrow your business – sometimes staff reach a ceiling within the business. As difficult as this may seem, sometimes it is best to let staff move on when they’ve outgrown the business. Naturally, we will always try to find space and increased responsibility for exceptional staff, but sometimes that’s not possible. It’s the toughest pill of all to swallow, but if you’ve ‘achieved the person through the results’ then there has to be scope to consider that you’ve hit your target.
This can come across as a skewed perspective of business. The primary objective of a business is, of course, its own business strategies. And within that, to make money. What I’m suggesting is that on the road to achieving these business results, you can achieve people as the result too and leave an indelible mark upon the valuable folk who pass through your business.