Organizational Leadership: A business is the sum of its people

Now this may seem like an obvious statement but employees are the most valuable resource to any organizational leadership team. However, when times get tough – like in an economic downturn – I would argue that the stress and strains on an administration can leave employees either lost in the shuffle, or scrutinized for productivity. The focus becomes a “new business” or “revenue generation” approach rather than building and effectively/efficiently using the talent at hand.

I could give numerous examples of executives leading companies through times of evolution and change where the prevailing mood became one of fear and avoiding calamity rather than on optimizing potential. I liken this approach to the human body’s “fight or flight” response to stress – where the brain screams at the body to take action. This can be effective for a human escaping pursuit by a wild animal, however under sustained fear, fighting or flight, the body breaks down. While initially many executives may feel that their company will be inspired by a battle cry atmosphere, what happens is similar to what occurs in the human body… the short-term benefits are heavily outweighed by the long-term consequences. Ultimately, organizations that rely (or fall back) on this strategy find that staff burn out, employees become suspicious and or paranoid about leadership, allegiances are formed (or torn), and ultimately the environment pushes out – and often repels – staff from the organization altogether.

One argument I’ve heard is that staff attrition is a good thing. “Hey, if they don’t want to be here we are better off without them.” However, many organizations find that they throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater – because they lose talented individuals with potential alongside anyone who is a non-performer. Not to mention that there should be mechanisms in place to weed out non-performers long before it’s a dire question of need. And if they are savvy non-performers they may be the employees who are retained. Yikes! Therefore, the losses compound the initial problems of an organizational rebound with a deteriorating atmosphere, lost talent, and stretched or strained resources.

Back to my original premiss; personnel is the most valuable – and expensive – commodity for any organization. Hiring and training the wrong individual (depending on position level) has been estimated to cost organizations anywhere from $250k to $800k by the time the individual is excused or departs. Now, aside from the very large corporations, most businesses can’t afford that level of loss for a single position – let alone multiple departures or large-scale downsizing.

So how does the business move ahead? An optimal work environment is one that: 1) Treats employees as a valuable priority, 2) Discovers ways to maximize each employee’s potential and motivation, 3) Demonstrates the principle that how employees are treated is how customers and partners are expected to be treated by employees, 4) Values individual, group, and corporate wellness at every level of the organization, and 5) Creates pathways for employees to use their potential to continue professional growth and development alongside the organization.

Now think about your organization. On a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the best at valuing, supporting, and retaining employees) where does your org land? What would it take to get from where you think you currently are to a 10? If you don’t know – or know and could use some assistance in getting there – give us a call!



When we started Prosperity Coaching & Consultation our mission was clear: As Psychologists with years of corporate experience we provide assistance to organizations by helping them: 1) Manage their evolution through change, 2) Hire competent executives with potential, 3) Retain valuable employees, 4) Limit the expenses incurred by losing staff while maximize employee potential and motivation, and 5) Develop a sustainable, solid core business built on the people… yes, the people at the heart of the company. For more information on organizational leadership, drop me a message:, or give me a call @ 720.612.0244

Employee Engagement: Employees are customers too.

Employee engagement is a lot like consumer engagement – some would argue the former is substantially more important than the latter.  It sounds strange, I know, but hear me out.

After putting the company together piece by piece, the final (and often hardest) part is developing and retaining your employees.  This was supposed to be the easy part after all the hard work went into the business plan, product development, relationship building with partnering companies, product placement, marketing & advertisement – the list goes on and on.  However, the final step is going to make or break your business.  Hiring the right employees who understand the business, value their employment, and are motivated to do their jobs day in/day out is essential.  That’s why those of us who work with companies – big and small – cannot reinforce enough that conceptualizing employees as customers of the company provides a unique vantage point.  After all, employees are looking to the organization to provide for them.  They are most likely expecting pay (unless you somehow sidestepped this one), benefits, respect, a positive atmosphere to work in, recognition for their work, etc.  In return they agree to do their best, communicate openly, contribute to the positive atmosphere, show respect to others, and work in line with the mission/values of the company.   The organization is selling the employment, and the employee is purchasing it in a variety of ways (albeit not solely by salary as noted).

So – how do you show good customer care at the level of employment?  Effectively, how do you take care of your employees?  How do you make them feel valuable – as you would have them treat external consumers?  How do you compensate them appropriately so that they keep coming back every day with motivation and a desire to do their best?  How do you help them feels so proud of their employment; So proud that they want to tell everyone they know: 1) who they work for, 2) how great the services/product lines are, 3) how much they love the administration that cares as much about their employed family as they do about the general consumer family.

These are the important questions you have to ask while accepting the honest feedback and answers.  However, doing so in a growing or established company can be difficult when you consider the power-based positions of executives, directors, and managers.  Likewise, using in-house staff such as the human resource department (if you have one), can create counterproductive levels of paranoia and suspiciousness.  This is where Prosperity can provide assistance and support.  Part of our skill set is understanding interpersonal relationships & dynamics, individual motivations, and workplace factors that impact productivity – or invite stagnation.  Through employee interviews, attending group meetings, and having open dialogue across the organization – we can help you use information to make wise choices about how to message staff and make environmental modifications that truly make a difference.   Isn’t that what your employees deserve?

*Ahem*  your “customers” deserve.

Give it some thought.  When you’re ready, give us a call and let’s talk about what might be helpful!

Todd:  720.612.0244