What Value Are You Creating For Your People?


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Some managers reading this title will be thinking, “Dave, you’ve got this backwards, they’re our people, our employees, they work for us.  They need to be creating value for us.  That’s what we hire them for, to bring in orders!”

It’s this very attitude that creates the challenges we have within too many of our organizations today.

Our jobs as leaders is to maximize the performance of each person on our teams.  It’s about enabling them and empowering them to do the jobs we hired them for and to produce the results expected.  And it’s getting out of their way to let them do those jobs.

The funny thing about this, is if we do this, they produce the orders we need and expect!

To often, our points of view about the manager-employee/subordinate relationship is terribly backwards.

They work for us, they do what we tell them to do, they are expected to produce the results (sales/orders), if they don’t, then we will find someone who will.

Instead, our role is to maximize the performance of each person on our team.  Sorry to be repetitive, but this is the critical idea we have to have as leaders.   But what’s this mean?

  1. First, we have to have the right people.  We have to have the people with the behaviors, attitudes, values, skills, competencies, and experiences to do the jobs we hire them for.  It’s our jobs as managers and leaders to make sure we have the right people on our teams.
  2. We have to make sure they understand the expectations we have of them in the role.  This is more than, “Here’s your quota and territory assignment, I need a forecast by tomorrow morning.”  It’s helping them understand who we are, what we intend to stand for with our customers.  It’s giving them a clear vision about the strategies, priorities, and the value we create for customers.  It’s making sure they understand expected behaviors within the organization, how we work as a team, what are conditions of employment (read Sales Manager Survival Guide to understand this concept).  And yes, they have to know their quotas, what levels of pipelines or other activity metrics they need to achieve—but those are just things to help them monitor how they are doing in the job.
  3. We have to onboard them, teaching, demonstrating, coaching them in the things that drive the highest levels of performance in the role they’ve been hired to perform.  It’s helping them understand what works, what doesn’t, what they need to do to succeed.
  4. We have to coach them on an ongoing basis, helping them understand what they are doing well and how to do them better.  Helping them understand where they can improve and helping them do this.  Helping them explore new things, to think and figure things our for themselves.
  5. We have to provide them the systems, tools, processes, programs, and training so they can perform at their maximum.
  6. We have to remove barriers that stand in the way of their doing their jobs and performing at the levels we expect.  Part of this invovles fighting for them and getting things done for them within our organizations, so they can focus on doing their jobs with customers.
  7. We have to create an environment of constant learning, improvement, and innovation.  The world isn’t standing still, so if everyone in the organization isn’t constantly learning and improving, you fall behind and fail.
  8. We have to address performance issues–not ignore them or let them linger.  For those that aren’t or can’t perform as expected, we have to work with them to figure out what’s wrong, to figure out how the situation can be corrected.  If it can’t be, we have to move them to where they can succeed–elsewhere in the organization or out of the company.  Anything less is failing them, their teammates, the organization, and yourselves.
  9. We have to constantly model what performance excellence is about in our own behaviors and the personal example we set.  “Do as I do,” is far more impactful than “Do as I say.”
  10. We have to get our hands dirty, working with our people, helping them with tough situations, understanding what they face, so we can figure out how to help them improve.
  11. We have to celebrate their successes, individually and as a team.

Leadership is nothing more than creating value for each individual and for the team.  If we do this, they, in turn, create the value for which we hired them.

What value are your creating for your people?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


  1. This is incredibly important, and all too often simply overlooked or taken for granted by organizations. What you’re really addressing is employee experience value and ambassadorship, i.e. adopting a more ‘people first’ proposition within the enterprise culture, such that employees will commit, vocally and in their performance, to optimizing the brand, their alignment with the company, and the customer experience: : http://customerthink.com/for-employees-and-customers-should-the-goal-be-higher-engagement-or-higher-experience-value/ And, as you note, consistent and focused leadership is essential to make this happen

  2. Thanks Michael. Unfortunately, too few managers recognize this, but the only way we achieve our goals is through our people. If we aren’t creating value in leading them, then we aren’t fulfilling our responsibilities.

  3. Hi Dave, truely great thoughts and I hope this post gets widely read. What you are basically advocating is stakeholder value in a world that largely still thinks in shareholder value. Stakeholder value, as opposed to shareholder value mandates an outside-in thinking: Customers and employees are not a means to an end (more profit/revenue, or whatever the current definition of ‘value creation’ is) but the creation of more value for the company is achieved by making sure that there is more value (co-)creation with the customers. In order to achieve this there needs to be value (co-)creation with the employees.

    The cynic in me says that instead customers are treated as a nuisance and employees like a material (human resource with the emphasis on resource) – but that is another story 😉

    Thanks for this post

  4. Thomas, thanks so much. As you mention, the real irony is the only way to drive shareholder value is through stakeholder value–customers, employees, etc. It’s so obvious, consistent top performers recognize this and it becomes their competitive advantage.

    Unfortunately, I share your pessimism/cynicism. Too often, this is lip service.


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