Purpose or Profits?
My boss is always harping on numbers and all that he has to talk about every time when he meets me is Sales, Sales and Sales. Why the hell he doesn’t understand the ground reality? – Sounds familiar?
Yes Indeed, Leadership today is more inclined to number and they miss the point here in reaching the numbers or exceeding the numbers. It lies in Purpose, Purpose and only Purpose.
It is very natural for leaders to be focused only on profits, meeting targets, meeting EBITDA etc. But it is a costly mistake that leaders do by keeping these as their only centre of attention. Financial results are an outcome and not the root driver for employee performance.
The moment you harp on financial numbers to your down the line team, you are damaging the employee morale and motivation. It is important that the team down the line know of these numbers and how they are performing as far as topline or bottom line is concerned. However, directing the team performance towards profits or financial results will take their attention from performance to numbers and who suffers at the end of the day, the business. You need your team’s focus at their own ground level performance. While writing this, I remember the verse from famous globally recognized epic – Bhagvat Gita. Gita talks of a sloka – Karmanye Vadhikaraste – This means, focus on the work and not on results. Results will come if your focus is on your performance. You have the right to work and never to the fruits of the work. Lord Krishna said these millions of years back and what an apt lesson for today’s leaders.
So how do you ensure that your focus is on purpose as a leader and how you instill this purpose driven culture to have the financial numbers in the long run?
Leaders need to reinforce their organizational purpose and this can easily be done by:
- Spend your airtime in communicating Purpose.
Whenever you are meeting your team either alone or in groups, spend more than half of your time talking about the end goal, purpose of the organization, appreciate people who have achieved the purpose or aligned to the purpose. And spend no more than half of your time on numbers or financial results.
- Inject Emotions
Emotions is everything. Emotion is Energy in Motion. We are all emotional beings. Our momentum in life is ignited by emotions. Hence, leaders must tap this field of emotions on a regular basis. Talk about customer experiences, colleagues, partners experiences etc. The more you relate the work to such experiences of other beings, it is more likely that the employees start relating their work/ performance with the values that they add to the customers or colleagues. Here you make your employees owners who engages in action, who derives a sense of fulfillment of having done what they do at work. This results in the numbers at the end of the day. Your team is your soldiers and their attention is needed at the purpose more and why not spend more time on where you need their attention to than where you need your attention to.
- No need to share every financial information with the team.
Control your impulsiveness to talk about numbers to your team. They don’t need to know too many details of numbers. They just need to know how the organization is aligned to its purpose. Making them listen to this only driving force – Purpose is your job as a leader. This is where a leader’s maturity comes into light. Though deep inside you are more engaged in numbers, you know the battle field needs a different motivation.
Leadership is a Spiritual Act not a Financial Act.
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