In the last three articles, I explained how important it is for successful leaders and managers of a business, to always have a full understanding and control of three key elements: the cultural aspect, the level of cooperation and the amount of stress in the organization.
In this final part I'm reviewing briefly what they are, how they are strictly related and why a proper management of them can really create a more sustainable and human centric business ecosystem. The leading thread of my approach continues to be my business experience along with my equestrian practice.
The understanding and respect of the cultural aspect of the environment is the first important element. It has to do with the beliefs and customs of a particular society, group, place, or time, and encompasses the attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group. The globalization of pretty much every business involves the comprehension of this aspect, making it a crucial point for the success of any business endeavor. As business leaders, managers of a division or of a project, we must understand and integrate the culture of an environment into our approach.
The level of cooperation is the second important characteristic, and basically it has to do with the ability of business leaders to reduce the level of conflict within teams, and encourage a collaborative approach amongst people. Clarity about the company's shared vision and mission, and the communication of clear and well define shared objectives are the basis of a collaborative structure.
The third aspect is the amount of stress of the organization, and the direct correlation between stress, the mental and physical health of people, the impact on their performances and on the company costs. To keep the amount of stress under control, top management must balance the amount of pressure they put on their people, use transparent communication and favor creativity. I believe that the only form of performance control is through the establishment of a fair evaluation and incentive (bonus) system.
A business system, works very similar to a biological or political ecosystem, in that, its components interact, and they determine the health and efficiency of the structure.
My experience working with horses, has taught me a lot on how to understand the personality of different horses, the environment around us every time I ride, and when there is a situation that is causing stress to my riding partner. The more in depth I understand and manage these conditions, the better the riding performance.
My most recent experience with a thoroughbred name Moto, taught me even more. This particular breed is very intelligent, but also concerned about anything new and unexpected happening in the environment where we ride. The success of the ride and of the performance, depends on my ability to connect with him physically and mentally, to anticipate any emerging state of anxiety created by a particular situation, and to channel this into a positive energy that translates into beautiful movement and exercise.
I believe there is no difference here, with what we have to do in a business or life environment to get the most out of our people. Whenever I walk into an organization, I immediately interact with people, watch their behavior, trying to get a feeling of their passion, motivation and energy.
For me energy, or better, what I call "human energy," is the most important component to quickly understand the culture, motivation, and quality of the team and organization. This is, in most cases related to the success or poor performance of the business.
An organization with tension, low levels of cooperation and too much politics, is more focused on dispersing energy on futile conversations rather than on better execution. On the other end, in companies with a clear vision and mission, where employees and management have a coherent direction and are focused on important priorities, these companies, are more inclined to cooperation, dedication, and have stronger financials.
If I had to measure the level of human energy in a business ecosystem and translate it into a mathematical correlation, I would say that the amount of energy is inversely proportional to the amount of stress. In other words, a high respect of the culture and of the level of cooperation, with a low amount of stress, produce a high level of human energy.
I believe this approach presents business leaders and top management, with a beautiful opportunity. This position allows us not only to create the conditions for financial growth, but also to develop better and more human centric ecosystems, where people can enjoy working in an environment that gives them space for creativity, education, collaboration and compassion. A lot of this depends on our leadership style.