If you’ve read any of my books or articles, you know I’m a fan of words; some words are heavier than others, some strike a chord, an emotion, a memory, and a simple truth is… Words Matter! For example, the word “Investing” is powerful. The first thing that comes to mind may be money, the second may be Compound Interest. For some, investing their money is a no-brainer, while others may think it’s only for the rich, or how the heck am I supposed to invest the nothing that’s left over after payday? As an Organization, investing in the Company and your People cannot only be considered after the bills are paid or when revenue is high… we must be willing to invest in our Organization and People first and no matter what! The good thing is, A Leader’s Investment doesn’t always have to be money and can take other forms; so what are they? Relationships, Training, Systems, and Products!
Before we jump into The 4 Key Investments… it’s important to preface the common stressors many companies and leaders face that deter investing:
- Financial Downswing – There are times when the market is up and the organization lives like a fat cat, happy, and full… Good Times! Inevitably, the opposite will occur and financial stress due to political climate, professional disrupters, or who knows… a Global Pandemic will hit the company budget. On the surface, this will seem like the time to stop investing in your people. I share with Leader after Leader and Company after company… the more stressed your team the better your leadership needs to be. If your significant other or child was going through their toughest time, you’d invest your time, your heart, your everything into making sure they were ok, right?
- Company Downsizing – Due to economic downturns or technological advances, downsizing is an unfortunate part of business. Again, as I share with company after company and Leader after Leader… the smaller your Company/Team the better your leadership needs to be! Some companies, like Nike or Google, are seemingly too big to fail. It’s not impossible, but improbable. Since you and I are not Nike or Google, the smaller our team the better our influence, impact, protection, decision, Vision, Expectations, and Investment (Leadership) needs to be.
These days, Employees are doing more work than ever, have more duties squished into their roles than ever, have more choices of places to work than ever, and are less connected due to Hybrid and Remote Work than ever. Do you think Investing in your Company and People really doesn’t matter? The point is to invest all four: Relationship/Connection, Training, Systems, and Products… but marrying what you want to invest with your People’s deepest need at the moment! So, let’s get into it!
As a Company or Leader, Investing will cost you either money, time, energy or all of the above. Enhancing Relationships and Connection with your people does not have to cost a lot of money, but it will cost you time and energy! This Key will come easier to some leaders; while other leaders will have to pay the annoying price of having to smile and engage with their people. “The Motivator Type” or “Connector Type Leader” will naturally gravitate to this, while “The Intense” and “The Example Type” may not feel as naturally inclined, will tend to resist it, and may even argue “We shouldn’t have to do this to get people to do what we pay them to do!”. If this is you… you may be right, but that’s not how most humans work! Your people will tend to do more for you, with you, because of you, and forgive about organizational change and a bit of organizational dysfunction when they have a good connection with you and/or their cowokers… Be Mindful!
In other articles and videos I’ve shared about the C’s of connection:
Care – Your Leaders and Employees are people… someone’s parent, partner, son/daughter, etc. The Covid-19 Pandemic brought this to light as most people worked from home on virtual calls and got to get prolonged glimpses into the lives of their employees and bosses. We got to see their living rooms, their children, their pets, their chaos, even the paint color of their walls! Titles weren’t as important as the fact they were a person and caring for them helped to get the job done! Care about your people professionally and personally and watch connection grow!
Curious – Stay curious after the initial interview process. Too many times meetings become all protocol, procedure, and metrics! Why is this person still with you and the company? What do they desire to get out of it? Has their answer changed over the years? What’s their DREAM? Can you help or at least ask about their DREAM… whether it’s related to the company or not? My wife is a high-level executive, however her DREAM is for her YouTube Channel with our amazing 4-year-old, Lil Sky, focused on cooking and baking to take off! How cool would it be if her bosses and coworkers supported her, ask about it, how they could help, who they could connect her with, and of course… Smash that Like Button, Lol? How much more appreciation do you think she’d have for her company, her bosses, coworkers, and her job?
Courteous – Virtual Calls have made face-to-face contact easier than ever. However as a Professional Speaker, Leadership Trainer, and Person, I can’t tell you how many Leaders and Employees I hear groan they have to turn their camera on, Lol! Yes, it’s my job to make them love the experience and I do… but, their initial reaction is, “Do I have to?”; as they’d prefer to multi-task or maybe hit mute and do household chores.
My point is… never underestimate the power of your smile, eye contact, your “Hello”, your chit-chat, your handshake, etc.! Remote & Hybrid Employees have the least amount of meaningful socialization than ever before and many in-office employees are too busy complaining about their day, their job, and their life… Be Mindful to celebrate, collaborate, and congregate virtually, courteously, and ENJOY!!!
Investing in proper Training for your People and Company will cost you all three: money, time, and energy. However, the cost tends to be higher if you don’t! You can easily be lulled to sleep as you won’t see the negative effects of not investing until months or perhaps years down the line… but it’s coming.
I have the honor of working with companies experiencing massive growth in revenue and employees. Some are too busy to invest in proper Leadership Training; until all of those newly promoted or recently hired into the company are so busy growing, but no one is leading, the culture is lost, what made them great is no more, and everyone’s doing things their own way and negatively impacting those underneath! Sound familiar? Or, the company is downsizing… there’s no money or time for training. Until you look up and everyone is burnt-out, morale is low, and the people you love and need are jumping ship.
In our marriage and with our kids, there must always be time to teach, learn, grow, reward, and get better… or you know what happens! Business is no different; investing through tough times is what makes the good times so much sweeter and well-earned! Perhaps the investment is bringing in someone like myself, in-house training, online training, recommending someone or a channel you follow… SOMETHING that’s a voice outside of YOU!
In my book, The Leader’s Toolbox, I share A Leader’s Upgrade. A Company or Leader must always focus on regularly upgrading their People, Process, and Technology. We upgrade our People through trainings, promotions, letting people stay great where they are, adding great people, and possibly letting go of others so they can be their definition of great elsewhere. Processes and Technology are the “Systems” I’m referring to!
Think about it like this, as your parents age… they have a hard time letting go of what they knew worked. They hop on their cell phone from 10 years ago and come to you with tech issues that you can’t help with because their phone is simply too outdated. Please don’t let this play out in your business! Yes, your People will gripe they have to learn something new and tweak their process. However, what doesn’t evolve and adapt dies… Be Mindful!
There are some products that never have to change. Off the top of my head… Play-Doh is a product that never has to change, kids love it, they never question it, they have a forever and recurring market, and parents will buy it for their kids until the end of time! In fact, they’ve added to their product line… adding colors and accessories; and to be honest, no one cares. Kids simply want to play with Play-Doh! If you have a product like this GREAT for you, know your truth, and enjoy it! It doesn’t mean great leadership isn’t needed; it does mean that most Companies don’t have this luxury product!
Therefore, be sure to invest in updating and upgrading the products you serve with your vision, how you want to serve it, married with how your customers want to use it and purchase it!
Years ago, I created my Evolve & Lead Online Program. I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread… and… no one bought it, Lol! What I realized, I wasn’t Play-Doh or Nike and didn’t have a name as BIG as John Maxwell or Tony Robbins! So, I tweaked the program, the price, and the process; understanding that Companies, Organizations, and Leaders that brought me in to present would be the ones most likely to use and purchase my Online Program for continued learning. They and their People already liked me and are saying, “Andre said…” it only made sense to keep it going! Years later, multiple companies and organizations worldwide now have access to my program!
I hope A Leader’s Investment and its 4 Keys resonated with you! What was your biggest takeaway? What homework assignment are you giving yourself to best enhance not only your Leadership & Work/Life Harmony, but also that of those you’re leading? Enjoy your Evolution!
“Care about your people professionally and personally and watch connection grow… Be Mindful!” – Andre Young
Written by: Andre Young
Looking to impact your Organization, Leaders, Teams, and Employees with a Leadership & Work/Life Harmony Training or Speaker? Click www.youevolvingnow.com to connect, chat, and customize with Andre Young!