“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” – Dr Seuss
When we talk about momentum in any kind of organization, we think about the steady progressive rhythm it continues to possess after it has started. In prosperous times, keeping momentum after the initial traction is achievable with the right leadership, befitting product offerings, sufficient financial back-up and a talented team. However, in tougher times, organizations, regardless of their sizes, have to be more resilient in order to keep the momentum.
What about the resilience in an organization help sustain its momentum during a period of economic downturn? How can these core ingredients for resilience be created?
Entrepreneurial Vision or Management Mission
Our thoughts have the power to build positive or negative momentums in our life. Similarly, an organizational momentum can also positively snowball in the direction the business management chooses, depending on its “thoughts” also known as the mothership of the organizational value. This is shared between the leadership and the team.
At the start every coaching assignment, I ask my clients to prepare their vision board. The vision board will have two focal points. The first, the entrepreneur’s own personal life vision, which include their strengths, talents and skillsets leading them to the desired personal position in the next five years. The second, the entrepreneur’s mission for the businesses they are creating; what greater good the business would like to deliver and where the business would be in five years. The two — vision and mission — would ideally be intertwined and aligned as the entrepreneurs and their businesses co-exist the same eco-system.
Often, the process of building a vision board provides the dragonfly eye-view, with multiple perspectives of the entrepreneur’s goals as an important agent for their business’s resilience. The vision becomes the force for the momentum.
In larger organizations where the quality of positive momentum is heavily reliant on the ability to interconnect in order to achieve concerted efforts in group of employees, this often begins by setting the organizational mission. What does the organization stand for? With clear visions, the leadership set the top-down alignment, imperative for the creation of organizational momentum.
Clear mission statements such as Google’s, “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” and Amazon’s, “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices,” help to consistently steer the companies in changing market conditions where organizational resilience is key for long term value creation.
Vision & Mission Trap
At Skype, the business set a simple goal: To become a verb. Business leaders regularly communicate their company’s higher purpose in a vision or mission statement in their efforts to reinforce it as a common goal. While these communication efforts are well intended, only a few would result in a real lasting impact. While leaders try to emphasize on the vision, the employees tend not to take the message to heart. Therefore, seeing negligible bottom-up process with little desired positive impact on the business. How would a company keep its momentum when it doesn’t have the completely buy-in from its employees? In order to be successful, an organizational behavioral road map is needed to align the motivation of employees with the important goals of the organization.
Dale Carnegie once said, “Enthusiasm is contagious – and so is the lack of it.” Do you want to build resilience in your business and retain your growth momentum? Perhaps there’s nothing more important than harnessing enthusiasm for it.
The noun enthusiasm comes from the Greek word enthousiasmos, from enthous, meaning “possessed by a god, inspired.” The word indicates intense excitement. To be enthusiastic, it is important to cultivate and pursue positive feelings for the business, from within. This enthusiasm comes from the total immersion of yourself as an entrepreneur or business leader, for the real benefits you are delivering to the market. Remember what’s good, what works and why it works!
Harnessing the same level of enthusiasm in your team is key in keeping the momentum. When employees become more enthusiastic, they become more resourceful to perform better. It is the feeling of engagement; a deep connection which is fundamental.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that, when we align around a common purpose, teams can achieve goals that would have been considered impossible. It has radically changed demand for products and services in every sector, while exposing points of weakness and fragility in the supply chain and service networks. Simultaneously, we have witnessed how well and rapid many organizations have adapted, reaching new heights of visibility, flexibility, productivity and connectivity which also preserving their bottom line. Globally, many companies have successfully adapted digitally resulting to efficient services delivered to customers confined to their homes. One European healthcare provider abandoned its two-year strategic plan and deployed the new remote treatment system to thousands of patients in only ten days. These stories reaffirm that companies must look for ways to preserve this sense of purpose to achieve speed.
Search for meaning
When people understand the meanings and believe in the reasons behind their action, they display greater resilience and stamina. Various researches have confirmed that people are motivated and persistent when they think about why they are doing something (for example, trying to be healthier) instead of what they are doing (going to the gym).
At NASA, employees discovered the steps, linked to their tasks, in building a meaningful connection between their work and NASA’s aspirations. The tasks of “building the electrical circuits” are linked to NASA’s objective ‘to put a man on the moon’ and to the broader purpose of “advancing science.” The personal connection of “building electrical circuit” to “advancing science” is made to coordinate the collective enthusiasm. This clarity helps the leaders to understand the importance of meaning for employees to contribute to the common purpose.
Companies often give their teams data about their customers. However, in an experiment, where a screen streaming live images of the customers in the restaurant is placed in the kitchen for the chefs to view, they have instinctively prepared each customer order better. Removing the customers’ anonymity gives a clear sense of how their work directly affect them. It has proven to deliver a more profound positive effect on their output and delivery.
Helping employees understand the impact of their work doesn’t have to be complicated. But it should be personal. The Wharton School experiment had carried out an experiment with fundraisers for scholarship funds, whom are remunerated purely on the basis of donation secured. It has been proven that the fundraisers are 295% more successful after they’ve met the beneficiaries of the scholarship. The fundraisers are more enthusiastic, engaging and successful in comparison to their performances when they have only been told about the significance of those funds to those who need them without meeting the recipients of the funds.
Learn more about Nina at http://www.ninajustin.com/.