People are the great variable we all have challenges with. When you are surrounded by great people, things just seem to get done and you really don’t have to think much about how. When you are surrounded by under qualified people – even the basics get hard to do. Often you don’t know what situation you are in until you have experienced both.
On top of that, putting yourself in the “Abundance of Great People” scenario does not just happen. People don’t want to work for you because you have something you need them to do. They are complex, multi-dimensional people that have their own goals, desires and ideal path forward – it is amazing that we can get alignment at all!
Despite the odds of never being in perfect alignment, you can greatly increase the level of alignment if you have put some focused thought to it. This must be a specific plan, with a result that makes it all worth it. That is why you need to tie your People to your Business Strategy – in fact, I believe your People Strategy is your Business Strategy. Unfortunately, we often build a strategy and then just assignment the tasks to our existing people where it best fits, although often it is a poor fit. You need to have a conscious focus in order to accomplish that – here are some key things to keep in mind that are dependent on your strategy:
Developing people – If your client offering is effectively a commodity you can find people that others have trained. If you have a very unique market, unique product or a unique offering to your clients, you often will need to develop most of them in-house. What you are looking for when you hire will change dramatically.
Compensation – It must align with your value add to your clients. People make up the majority of costs for technology companies so if you are a low-cost provider to your clients, you need a low-cost infrastructure as efficiency will only help so much. Low-cost strategies built heavily on staff usually require low cost geographies to work.
Growth – Growth happens when you are figuring out new things. You have to overcome the challenges with new markets or new products and you need talented people to figure those things out. If you are entering a much different growth trajectory than what you have historically achieved, you are likely to require different skills.
Change – Requires bandwidth – you can’t run your business like an assembly line as people will revert back to task management. When entering a dramatic period of change, you can expect to see a decrease in efficiency and you need to give your staff that space to adapt.
Pricing – You need to ensure that you are providing much more value to your client than what the client is paying. At the same time, you need to not do anything the client is not willing to pay for. If the value you are providing is even remotely close to the price the client is willing to pay, it creates tremendous pressure to make short term decisions and often this is a direct impact on your staff. So if your staff are doing things that your clients really don’t care for – why do you need those skills?
Goals are achieved through the skills of your people. If you are building something highly technical, you need great developers. If you are growing by entering new markets with many unknowns, you need great Business Developers. If you are in the equivalent of a Market Street Fight with others in your market, you need great Sales people. Each strategy is highly dependent on your people’s skills in order to achieve it. Are you in alignment?