Leadership…Changing Our Way Of Thinking

Leadership…Changing Our Way Of Thinking

by Marc Gilenson

The real challenge today is to change our way of thinking…not just our goals, processes, systems, policies, and view of the end-state.  We need the imagination to grasp the immense promise and challenge of the inter-connected organization we have created.  The future lies with more cooperation, more interaction between people and departments, company and customer, vendor and company, and an even greater sharing of responsibilities and interests.  It is unity in diverse personal and business needs that we need today.

The Future Of Business Demands It

The future of business demands us to rethink our goals, processes, systems, policies, and view of the end-state.  We need a new approach that is based on collaboration and mutual benefit, where we are all guarantors of each others well being.  The successful business of the future will have everyone, from the CEO to the part-time clerk resolve problems through deliberation, consideration and mutual guarantee.  When a majority of people within the organization stop pointing fingers at who is at fault, and understand that our interdependence is such that we do better when others do better as well, so we have to find ways to help them and look at ourselves to see how we can be better as well.

When a company decides to implement a strategy of mutual benefit and move from a “me” focus to a “we” focus, it will look to achieve great things. There does not have to be a conflict between making a profit and caring for employees and the community.  With Mutual Benefit, it is possible to have a balance that meets everyone’s needs.

Mutual Guarantee

Mutual Guarantee is a concept embraced by many of the worlds largest corporations to create a company that can make a profit, and have long term sustainability.   Companies such as Ben & Jerry’s, Starbucks, Canon, IBM, and GOOGLE are just a few of the companies that have been using this concept in one form or another to capture market share, attract the best employees and create value for their brand.  It is not just large corporations that have implemented a philosophy of mutual benefit; entrepreneurs all over the country are using this concept to achieve success during tough economic times.

It must be more than just words in the vision statement; it must be put into action and monitored by everyone in order for the real benefits to be achieved.  It is more than just team building or leadership techniques; it is an understanding that the individual can achieve their personal goals only when the goals of the whole company are met as well.  A successful company will create compensation, bonus, activity and production matrices that consider how these motivating factors affect the employees, management, investors, vendors and customers.  When each individual is thinking of the whole versus just themselves, your organization will operate more efficiently with less supervision.

Employee reviews must not be based on personal performance alone, but how the whole team and the organization have done, and what role they’ve played in helping others achieve their goals.

3 Pillars of Mutual Benefit

Economy – for an organization to be healthy, it must be profitable.  If a company does not make a profit, it can’t achieve long-term sustainability.  An employee must be able to make a living that provides certainty that they can live a healthy, happy and fruitful life by knowing that they can pay for their life expenses.

Ethics – are more than just what is written in the corporate handbook.  There must be truthful, honest, sincere communication between employees, departments, customers, and vendors with no fear of retribution.  It means having a clearly communicated set of rules and regulations that all must follow, including management.

Community – companies must support the employee’s involvement in their local, national and global community efforts.  Community also applies to an employees involvement in the company’s internal community, such as shared department meetings, team building events, and understanding how each department is measured.

6 Attributes of Mutual Benefit

  1. Activities must be beneficial for both parties – if our actions will cause someone else in our organization to be worse off, then we should not do it.
  2. We should not make money at the expense of our customers – this is short team thinking that has ruined many companies.  Our customers must remain strong and profitable for us to continue making a profit from our business with them.
  3. Look for lifetime value of an action – do not only think of the immediate gain from your action.  You must look at the big picture and consider the lifetime value of the actions you take.
  4. Don’t look down on others – you may think that certain departments or individuals are not as smart or good as you are, or you may think they are not doing their job as well as they should, therefore, you treat them with disrespect and judgment.  This is great mistake… we should all try to understand why people are acting as they do and remember we can all learn from each other, no matter what job or situation they are currently in.
  5. It behooves us to help others achieve their goals – don’t just try to reach your goals at the expense of others within the company.  You will eventually realize how interdependent we all are and the chasm you created may be too great to cross.
  6. No conflict is insurmountable unless it is based on greed or ego – there is always a win/win solution to any conflict as long as it isn’t based on greed or ego.  If a conflict is based on greed or ego, then only a higher authority can solve the conflict.  This will usually lead to continued conflict unless the participants with the greed or ego issue is removed from the conflict.

It is understood that there is no pure altruism in the world, so a mutual benefit strategy must take into consideration, the only reason an individual will have appreciation of any other individual is not because they want to be nice, but because they realize that without the other individual’s success, they cannot succeed.

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