Are organizations emphasizing the right critical success-factor?

If you are like most people, you attribute an organization’s success to many factors: a perfectly crafted strategy, the right structure, appropriate culture and accompanying climate, the right operating environment, the vision of the founder/s, good brains, brand perception and power, the right macro-economic conditions and in some instances – sheer luck.

It’s true that all the above elements matter and influence the success or failure by the organization. Yet, by themselves, all these factors don’t bring success. Organizations may have all the above and still fail.

For example,

you have come across companies, now and in your past, that have crafted excellent business plans, and had every intention to implement them and become successful, but failed to do so.

And when there is the failure to execute, companies look for every reason to sanitize the failure – it may be any of a harsh and intolerable operating environment, lousy business climate, aggressive competition, market disruption, lack of demand, etc

But in the very environment where the failing companies haven’t achieved their anticipated outcomes, other companies, new and old in the industry, succeed. The question, therefore, is – ‘what makes companies succeed where others have failed?’

People, People and People

We know that many attribute success to strategy, structure, culture at the organization, the vision of the founder/s, brains at work and at times and perhaps valid to an extent – sheer luck.

We at the Effectiveness lab opine that every organization that succeeds has to attribute such success to its people – and people of a specified kind, and not every Tom, Dick and Harry. In other words, no organizations can succeed without the right people.

So, what makes companies succeed where others have failed, is all the above other factors, but at the forefront of them all, PEOPLE. The right people, is such a fundamental piece in this jig-saw, that the organization’s value creation isn’t complete or sustainable without them.

Companies may have the right strategy, but without the right people to implement the strategy, Strategy then remains a paper exercise and won’t translate into unique value addition. You may have the right culture and climate and people at the company may feel good, but without the right people and competences to collectively create value, the so-called feel-good factor won’t take the company to greater heights. Indeed, companies enjoy best-operating environments with hundreds of opportunity for good business, but without the right people, the opportunities go unexploited.

We want to draw your attention to a renowned cafe brand in Kampala, Uganda. We have been to three of these cafes over the last month, and they all have one thing in common. The manager and cafe-floor supervisors below the manager, are not Ugandan.

The decision to hire foreign labour must be deliberate and related to getting the right people to steer business strategy implementation. The alternative is not doing so and failing.

Ugandans should ask an obvious question – ‘cant the owner/s of this powerful brand Caffe get the right Ugandans to run the show?

The answer must be: NO and that is the reason the owner/s opt to hire foreign and more expensive labour, but with the right job competences. Only this way, can they consistently realize the critical success factors in the cafe industry: consistency, proactive management, doing by self and not armchair administration, keeping an eye on customer satisfaction and retention, etc.

The above real-life scenario affirms our narrative that business success is about having the right people first. The Cafe ticks all the boxes for a viable business investment but one – the right people to manage operations.

It has identified the best locations in Kampala CBD and the outskirts, invested in getting the facilities right, has the market and accompanying demand, but can’t find the right people, from our Uganda kindred, to oversee the business.

The solution – and a bold one at that was to go outside Uganda. And we believe, even without access to the cafe’s books, that it’s making perfect money.

So are you getting your people tactics, right?

Every human on earth was created with a dominant talent chip in their brain. So, each one of us can excel at something in life. The job of an organization is to know what it wants and link such need to the various human talent chips.  But it always has something to do with people and what they have to offer at a point in time

Sadly, the current nature of company value creation needs is continually shifting. There is too much turbulence for things at firms to remain constant. And this is both in the short and medium-term (forget the longterm on this one).

Turbulent business environments, cause shifting demand and fluid value creation structures. Making the number one requirement for business owners and boards, knowing when the right people aren’t right anymore

Get your people tactics right – and all else will align, and you will go to the bank or your donors/beneficiaries (for the not for profit) smiling!



Categories: Strategy

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