As companies ponder the annual Christmas turkey or gift certificate to the “Jelly of the Month Club”, let’s ponder the opportunity to give something that will last beyond the bloat of the holidays. Let me premise by stating there is nothing wrong with food and I am indeed a fan. I also notice the migration to the gyms around the world after our temporary relationship with the foods that seduce us each year. I am a complete
sucker for pecan pie by the way. However, there is something that will leave a permanent, positive impact on those who carry the load all year. We have an opportunity to give a lasting gift that will not fade as we remove the holiday decorations and consider our New Year’s resolutions. Consider the gift of knowledge. Knowledge can never be taken and if done properly, can leave a permanent mark on the people we gift it to. Whether it is tools to make our job
easier or something to inspire us, the right kind of information can be the greatest gift we provide for our people. It demonstrates that our people are important and they indeed matter. Knowledge, when imparted properly, personifies the corporate strategy and reinforces our human need to belong to something greater than ourselves.
As you consider corporate strategies and market share, think about all the individual contributors that will execute that strategy in the coming year. A safer workplace, better quality, higher sales, or improved customer service are all derivatives of the people on our teams. Many corporations are blinded by strategy and mission to be better competitors in the markets they serve. True success exists in the aggregate. It is the
compilationof ten thousand small decisions made each day by the people that execute on behalf of the organization. Let’s not make light of this. It is not your mission and vision that makes you successful. It is Mary at the customer service counter and Dan in the sales meeting as well as Lauren holding the cutting torch on your factory floor that makes success a reality. Sure the stock price is important but it is merely a trailing indicator of something awesome
done be a member of the team. The gift of knowledge is a leading indicator for success.
Providing your people with the tools to make the best decision at the point of execution is the true measure of a great organization. I know I know, training is expensive and often not put to good use by recipients. There is a dark side of executive decision making that allows this cynicism to impact budgets in even the best of organizations. Just in case you have not heard this before, let’s reexamine an old favorite of mine.
Thechief financial officer (CFO) asks the chief executive officer (CEO), “What if we spend all this money training our people and they leave?” The CEO responds, “What if we do not train them and they stay?” Too many organizations are literally dumbing down the workforce they depend on for success. Thousands of times each day, this conversation takes place in the C-Suite and it is remarkable how many decide that training and development is just too
expensive. How expensive is ignorance? Oh, we will spend fifty thousand dollars on turkeys, but we choose not to spend on training that could potentially make our corporate goals a reality."Corporate ignorance is probably the most expensive cost that is not itemized on financial statements of far too many companies."