What are the characteristics of a high-performing organization? How does leadership contribute (or detract) from that process? These are the questions answered in the new second edition of Leading at a Higher Level, released earlier this year from FT Press. In it, best-selling business author Ken Blanchard identifies–together with the consultants and founding associates of The Ken Blanchard Companies–four key traits common to successful organizations. In these organizations, leaders do four things well.
- They set their sights on the right target and vision. Great organizations focus on three bottom lines instead of just one. In addition to financial success, leaders at great organizations measure the satisfaction and engagement levels of their employees and their customers also. Leaders at these companies know that in order to succeed they must create a motivating environment for employees, which results in better customer service, which leads to higher profits.
- They treat their customers right. To keep your customers today, you can’t be content just to satisfy them. Instead, you have to create raving fans–customers who are so excited about the way you treat them that they want to tell others. Companies that create this emotional connection with their customers enjoy the accelerated growth generated when customers brag about them to other prospective clients.
- They treat their people right. You can’t treat your people poorly and expect them to treat your customers well. Treating your people right includes setting clear, meaningful goals, providing day-to-day coaching, and finally, setting up performance reviews so that there are no surprises.
- They turn the organizational chart upside down. The most effective leaders recognize that leadership is not about them and that they are only as good as the people they lead. In successful organizations, once a vision has been set, leaders move themselves to the bottom of the hierarchy, supporting and removing roadblocks for the people closest to the customer.
If leaders take care of the people who take care of their customers, profits and financial strength will follow. The result is an organization where people and profits both grow and thrive.
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