Being polite, friendly and helpful – this is what many leaders simply understand by respect. No doubt, these are prerequisites, but is this already enough?
For the leaders of High Performance Organizations, respect goes further. Respect is for what makes people human. Respect is for their distinctly humane abilities. Skills that distinguish us from machines when it comes to creating value.
How do they prove their respect?
What makes the leaders of these organizations unique is that they are trained from day one to develop those skills that set humans apart from machines. They develop work systems that are people development programs, too. These systems distinguish people from automatons, take them out of their comfort zones, away from automated tasks, and help them develop their cognitive, sensory, analytical, and creative skills. It´s the way how the associates can improve and contribute themselves to improving a little more every day.
“Thanks to the … ActioGlobal team, our company has been able to start its important growth. Today, the people are more motivated, the teams develop continuously and the different business units focus on providing value to customers, which undoubtedly guarantees the sustainability of the Mecacontrol Group.“Ignacio Alvarez, CEO, Grupo Mecacontrol
In these organizations, each leader takes his responsibility and puts himself at the service of his teams and customers. Here´s the equation:
Every day, this mission of work becomes the engine that drives the growth of individuals and teams. In organizations like Google, Procter & Gamble, Southwest Airlines, Ritz-Carlton and Toyota, this translates into leaders and associates cooperate to solve this issue every day: What can we do to find a better way?
The answer to that question goes far beyond gaining any indicators, the answer implies achieving a common goal, which is worth the effort of everyone and represents the result of a system of leadership and teamwork based on respect for human skills, trust and the challenge of always knowing the best response to the needs of customers, colleagues and the organization.
As leaders, it is our daily routine to build relationships based on trust that develop the full potential of our associates. This requires us to make our teams grow, to inspire and support them, to challenge them and ask them the right questions at the right time. It´s about helping them find solutions for improving their work systems every day, with the ultimate goal of always putting a smile on the faces of both our associates and our customers.
But … Which organizational principles are essential to truly respect people’s being human?
- Constant challenge in the short term as a commitment to the long term: Constantly challenging our knowledge / doing as a basis for long-term value creation.
- Innovation and continuous renewal: Advancing continuously, always driving innovation and evolution through daily improvements at all levels.
- Intra-hierarchical collaboration where value is created: Continuous collaboration between the different hierarchical levels where value is actually created. The focus is on understanding the facts first hand and making the right decisions for customers by consensus.
- Taking advantage of the wide range of diversity while respecting the capabilities and experiences of all people as a basis for continuous improvement.
- Flow: Freeing people’s desire to take the initiative and grow by developing spaces of co-creation where people enjoy innovating together, thus maximizing individual and team performance with the ultimate goal of satisfying customers.
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To wrap things up, let me reiterate that respect for people does not simply mean providing them with a workplace, it does not simply mean paying them a salary (while it lasts) and, of course, it does have nothing to do with nurturing people’s comfort zones while hoping that some technology, one day, will replace them.
Respect for people is something entirely different. As leaders, we must prove true respect every day by nurturing people’s intellectual development and purely human abilities. Any initiative or idea that gets stuck in people’s heads is the greatest disrespect in terms of human and business waste that we can show. Any value proposition that is not acted upon by our associates represents the worst version of intellectual inventory an organization can calculate with. Every day that we fail to respect people’s humanity, we put their jobs and the sustainability of our organization at risk.
One final question: Leaders, do we really respect people?
Showing respect for people means being polite, friendly and helpful: these are prerequisites, but it´s not enough.
For High Performance Organizations, respect goes beyond. Respect goes to people’s humanity and that implies helping them to develop their cognitive, sensory, analytical and creative skills so that they can improve a bit further every day.